Why Plan a Retreat for your Church or Group......

Posted by Jess Schload

Jun 14, 2015 9:17:36 AM

Planning a retreat is a tough job. You need to decide to do it, choose a leader, plan marketing to get folks hope_and_rogerto come, set a budget, and price for the retreat, pick a site, take registrations, plan a schedule and more. As one who works at a retreat center, I am always amazed at the folks who take this task on, usually with no training, and pull it off very well.

But, why? Why do you want to even go through all this work? Most retreat leaders I talk to plan retreats for two basic reasons.

  1. They had wonderful experiences at a retreat and want to share that with others.
  2. They want to make a difference in people’s lives. They want to help their church grow in faith.

It is a lot of work to plan a retreat, but it is worth the effort. Think of a time when you saw a change in a person’s life at a camp or retreat. Or a time when you sat in a worship service with a group of folks you just spent a wonderful couple of days with, and knew you were a stronger person, that you would be different when you went home. Remember that time when someone told you how tired they were, burned out on life, work, or God, and a time away in a beautiful space turned them around.

Retreats are what the word implies. They are a time to get away. To remove yourself from the everyday toClick this box to  begin planning your  next retreat or conference be with a group of other like minded people and center on a special topic or theme. To think of nothing but your life with God, or your spouse, or the group you are with. Retreats have many purposes, from training, to spiritual growth, to rest and renewal. However, no matter the purpose, the time apart is valuable and needed by many. In today’s “connected” world, we all need to disconnect once and a while if we are going to be whole.

Why plan a retreat? Because you can make a difference in your and other people’s lives. You can help people grow. You can help your organization or church be stronger. You can have fun with the group who attends. When a military leader yells “retreat!”, the troops leave the heat of the battle for safety. When you offer a retreat, you offer a time to get away from the heat of life. That is why planning a retreat is time well spent. Let us at LEC know if we can help. Check other blogs in this series for ideas. Look for books and websites on retreat planning. Begin today to make a difference. You will not regret it.

Rev. Jess Schload, Director,

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Topics: Spiritual Growth, Retreat and Conference Planning, retreat in Florida, retreat, retreat alone, planning women's retreat

Planning a Women's Retreat?

Posted by Jaynie Schutlz, Co-Founder, Retreat Central

Jul 8, 2014 2:30:00 AM

Credit for this article to Retreat Central ( Retreat Central is a great resource for retreat planning including searching for centers in your area. Used with permission.

The question so often asked of women is “how do you do it all?”  There are countless articles, interviews and even movies with this theme. 

Untitled-3-1I think the question behind the question is how we do more with the same or fewer resources than our fellow humans, men.  We both share the same number of hours in a day but somehow women seem to get so many more things accomplished.  The question of how we spend our time and attention is a terrific theme for a ladies retreat.  Women’s retreats are designed to enable us to take a step back, recharge and refocus on what really matters in our lives.  There are many ways the theme of “doing it all” or “doing more with less” can be incorporated into retreats. 

Let’s look at the key ingredients of every retreat: 

  1. Lodging 
  2. Food 
  3. Program    

Choosing a facility with a lovely environment is essential to this theme.  It does not need to be fancy or expensive, but it does need to be well-thought out in design and hopefully in a beautiful environment.  To bring the theme to life through accommodations, share with participants early on why this particular site was selected.  Make sure the facility managers help you access all the features of the property.  They know all the best uses and surprises!  For example, ask to host a break out or cocktail hour under the trees or in a special enclave.  If there is a nice chapel or outdoor amphitheater, utilize it for moments of sharing and group building.  Most retreat centers are significant less expensive than hotels and in fact “do more with less”.

Meals are a really easy way to bring forward “doing it all”.  Have the chefs share some of their tips for cost-savings and kitchen efficiencies.  Great chefs never have food waste during preparation and they have amazing ideas participants can apply these secrets at home.  You can set up food-based programs for exploring creativity and/or group building with real life exercises such as building “lunches to go” with only seven ingredients or developing a weekly meal plan that can be prepared in less than 30 minutes/night. 

The theme goes straight to the heart through the program.  Through the program the women will bond with each other and build a lifelong connection to your organization (church).  The program should build in intensity beginning with sharing and ending on commitment.  For example, beginNew Call-to-Action the weekend with each woman talking about their daily lives - what are they like?  Are they similar to each other?  Then move to tips and ideas of ways they can help each other feel strong and stable in their daily lives.  Finally, end with each person choosing one thing to strengthen and one thing to drop along with a plan for checking in with each other regularly before the next retreat. 

These ideas can help the women you serve appreciate themselves and your organization for years ahead.

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By Jaynie Schutlz, Co-Founder, Retreat Central 
Jaynie Schultz created Garrett Creek Ranch with her mother more than 20 years ago. She served as the founding Director of Sales and Marketing and is involved in many non-profit organizations and leadership development programs.


Topics: Retreat and Conference Planning, retreat, Christian women, Women's Retreat, Christian women's retreat, planning women's retreat