Five Questions to Consider When Planning a Retreat or Conference

Posted by Jess Schload

Feb 15, 2014 5:00:00 AM

Untitled-3Many years ago, I worked at a newspaper. I was not a reporter, but a photographer. As such, I worked daily with the news staff as they collected stories. I can clearly remember, as they interviewed folks for the story, how they would check themselves to make sure they answered the key questions all news articles need to answer. Then, after writing the piece, they would again scan the article for the same reason. “Did I answer the key questions?” 

I am sure you heard this before. The five key questions that reporters ask in one way or another to complete a news story are simple:


These are vital questions to make sure you answer if you are writing an article for the church newsletter, planning a party, and planning a retreat. I am amazed how many times I am discussing retreat plans with a potential group leader, and it is clear they did not consider all these questions. If you are thinking of doing a retreat or conference for your church or organization, you can help your planning, marketing, and execution of the event by taking time early to answer these simple but very important questions. The following is some of what you should consider for each question:

Who?  Who is this retreat intended to serve? How will we let them know this is happening? How many will there be? Is there anyone else this retreat might benefit?

What? What is the theme of this event? What is its purpose? What do we need to do to make this happen? What materials will we use or guest speaker will we invite? What will it cost to pull this retreat off?

When?  When will we do this? How far out should we plan? Are there conflicts on the church calendar? Any holidays we need to consider? How many nights?

Where?  This is the easy one – The Life Enrichment Center!! OK, you may not be able to come here, and if not, consider the location. Perhaps it should be at the church, a retreat center, another local venue or maybe at a church in another town. We need to call and get a date reserved. We need the details, like cost, meeting room needs, food, etc.

Why?  This could be the most important question. Why do we need to do this event? Do we really need it? Why is it vital we hold this event?

It is that simple. Answer those five questions, and you are well on your way to an outstanding retreat or conference.

What are other things you consider as you plan?

Topics: Retreat and Conference Planning