Planning a women’s conference or retreat is similar to planning for your first child. You anticipate wondrous things, yet you are apprehensive. You are filled with excitement, yet you are uneasy. You look forward to a great day, but you have mixed emotions. And when the day arrives, you are filled with all the hope of the psalmist when he declared to God, “My hope is in you” (Ps. 39:7).
A women’s conference is a one-, two-, or three-day meeting held at the church for the purpose of ministering to women. There they will listen to godly speakers, grow in relationship to Christ, and will worship through Christian music, eating, and sharing together. A women’s retreat is an overnight weekend event held in a retreat center or camp. Its purpose is spiritual growth and bonding. The weekend includes skits, music, speakers, small-group prayer times, sleeping (or not sleeping!), and eating.
No two conferences or retreats will be the same, but with each event there are essentials that cannot be overlooked. These necessary ingredients include prayer, planning, publicity, priority, and purpose. We will look at each of these individually over the next few weeks. Even though much of this material is directed toward the women’s ministry coordinator, it also applies to committees and leaders.
The first and most important step is prayer.
Please don’t attempt anything for the Lord without first seeking His direction. Before you contact the first speaker or sign a contract for a retreat center, you need to pray for God’s guidance. Jesus said it best: “Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you”
God has something special just for the ladies who will attend. Even when you get ideas from other places, don’t rely on them to make your conference successful—rely on God to do what He wants to do in your midst.
Join us next week as we consider a timeline to help you know exactly when and how to plan for future events.
This article is adapted from Women Reaching Women: Beginning and Building a Growing Women’s Ministry, compiled by Chris Adams.
Merci Dixon formerly served as Director of Women’s Ministries at Moss Bluff First Baptist Church in Moss Bluff, Louisiana.