Retreat Lowdown

June 27, 2007 at 3:23 pm (Faith)

I’m still digesting everything we learned on the retreat but I thought I would post a little "review" or run down for anyone who may be involved in doing any sort of women’s retreat at their church.

About a week before Karina and I met and I somehow volunteered myself to head up this thing, I had received a brochure from Lifeway Publications that featured some of Beth Moore’s materials, including the "Loving Well Retreat in a Box". I’m not even sure how they got my name but I think God put me on their mailing list.

As this was the first women’s retreat ever for our church we REALLY wanted it to be quality! Rather than trying to find a great speaker, plus the additional cost we really decided that the Beth box was the way to go. I mean, it’s Beth Moore. You know it’s going to be spectacular! For $100 we got the DVD set, Leader Guide, some promotional helps (which really I ended up designing our own), and a sample journal. Outstanding price!

We kept the retreat in town, but on the other side of town in Scottsdale (about 45 min drive) at the Gainey Suites Hotel. It was the PERFECT place. The hotel is small but extremely cozy and upscale looking. They had a free continental breakfast everyday which helped us keep the costs down for the ladies. The rooms were awesome and the staff was spectacular. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to hold a small even (up to about 150 people).

I’m not going to post our entire schedule (but if you really want it you can e-mail me). We had a session on Thursday evening, another session Friday morning, then the ladies had the afternoon to shop or go to the spa, etc. A great dinner together on Friday evening, followed by another session (last of the Beth Moore video portion). Saturday morning after breakfast we met for worship time and an open sharing time. Boy did the tears flow! (Kleenex at each table? Check!)

Each session time had games, door prizes, worship, prayer, the video and then small group discussion time which the ladies did at their round tables of 9 or 10.

I cannot say enough good things about the Loving Well Retreat in a Box. If you know Beth Moore, you know she’s a spectacular speaker. The video portions were from an event she did in Knoxville almost 2 years ago. But you didn’t feel like you missed portions of her talk at all. You still got the funny stories, and the meat of the message. (More on that in another post.)

We did two extra things that were pretty fun. First, we laid out a "Creative Love Challenge" where we just challenged the ladies to find a creative way to show love to another woman there during the retreat. Some bought little treats, some even did a birthday cake for one of the girls. Our hotel room door got decorated (twice), etc.

The second was our "Love Notes". We bought 6×9 white envelopes – one for each lady – and wrote their name on it. We attached these to the hotel wall (with sticky putty so as not to damage the wall), back side facing out, flap up. Then we made cute little postcards with a design on one side, blank on the bank and encouraged the ladies to write Love Notes to the other women – friends, roommates, ladies in their group, etc. We printed enough for each lady to do about 10 Love Notes. Well we ran out by Friday afternoon and had to resort to using the hotel notepads. How awesome is that! The ladies were really getting into the loving! So at the end of retreat on Saturday each lady got to take their envelope home and read their love notes.

I’ve reread mine several times since they. They are such an encouragement and a nice little treat to my day. Made me realize how much a written note can brighten someone’s day. I’m going to try and make it a practice to write 1-2 little handwritten notes each week to someone. Gotta pass on the love!

I had an awesome team of ladies helping with the retreat – Karina, Jen, Violet, Laura – I couldn’t have done it without them, as well as the ladies who stepped up to be greeters, small group leaders and prayer team members. God’s hand was definitely on the whole weekend and I can’t wait to do the next one!

What started out as a joke about being a Beth Moore groupie turned into custom made tank tops – iron on transfers and some puffy paint. We had a blast – going to send Beth a picture of her groupies (Brooke, Karina, Me and Jen) (It’s kind of hard to read – they say "Beth Moore groupie" and she’s even got a puffy paint tiara on 🙂




  1. Brooke said,

    How awesome! I am thinking that next year, we need to wear tiaras! I know you have heard it, but it was awesome. The love that we shared, and received cannot ever be explained totally. We all surrendered to the conviction of not giving enough love to others. Hey, did you know Knoxville is where I am from? That conference was in Thompson-Bowling Arena, where the Lady Vols play, anyways it holds a good place in my heart, and it was awesome that is where the Loving Well started. Love ya~

  2. Stacey said,

    Thank you again for all the hard work you put into this Julie! I had an awesome time and can’t wait for the next one. You guys did an amazing job 🙂

    You are such a joy to love!

  3. Suz said,

    Julie, I’d love to talk more about this retreat. Our church is doing it at the end of September and I’m the one “heading it up.” We’ll have about 50-60 ladies, I’m guessing.

    I’d like to hear how things went from “that” point of view and if there are things you’d do different, leave out, or things you wish you had done.

    You can click the “email me” link on my blog.


  4. LeShon said,

    Hi, Jen!

    Our women’s group is getting ready for the Loving Well retreat.

    Everyone is extremely excited by the opportunity to attend a retreat with Beth Moore teaching.

    I’m interested in the flow of your retreat and love the ideas of the “Love Notes” activity.

    Would you mind to send me your retreat schedule and a little more information about the “Love Notes” activity and “Creative Love Challenge”?

    I look forward to hearing from you…

    By the way, you have a beautiful family!

  5. Terry said,

    Hi, I’m in charge of the Loving Well retreat at our church in two weeks. We will have about 25 ladies and it is being held at a local resort Fri-Sat.

    I’d love to hear more details about your retreat, skits, schedule, etc. It sounds like you had a great time. I’m concerned about getting all 4 sessions in from Fri night to Sat afternoon and still having time for some fun and fellowship. I look forward to hearing from you! Please email me at
    Terry Arnold

  6. Terry said,

    Thanks so much for the great information you sent me! I will definately be using it!

  7. Heather said,

    Thank you for posting this. I am looking at doing this retreat with our ladies but was looking for more info on how it all flowed. I love your ideas. I was wondering if you did all the sessions over the weekend. It seems like alot for Fri night and Sat. Any info you could give me I would appreciate.
    Look forward to hearing from you.

    • jgumm said,

      We actually started on Thursday. Did one session Thursday night, two Friday morning (w/ a short break in between) had Fri afternoon free for some fun stuff, did last one Friday night. Sat morning we just did a wrap up worship and were done by 11 a.m.

      I don’t have access to my schedule and everything right now (and won’t for over a week as we are going on vacation) but I could email it to you when I’m back in the office the week of the 10th.

      Let me know if you want it.


      • JAmie said,

        Woud love to get some info on your schedule…We are also doing a Thurs night, Friday and leave on Sat schedule…Please email me..would love to talk

  8. timfythetoo said,

    How long are the sessions? My wife is looking at this and we are struggling with finding the lengths of the video sessions.

    • jgumm said,

      I have more details at the office (will be there Monday) but I want to say that the sessions were between 50-60 minutes each.


    • jgumm said,

      I was able to confirm that the video portions are 40-60 minutes.

  9. Jo Moss said,

    Would love to get a copy of your schedule. We will only have Friday night through Saturday mid afternoon. With 4 DVD’s I am concerned we won’t have time for fellowship/games etc. Love the idea of the Love Notes…was there a problem with the balance in number of notes the ladies received??

    The Creative Love Challenge is great…did the ladies know about this before the retreat so they could prepare….and did they draw names ?? All my questions may be answered in the Retreat Box.
    If you have any other suggestions we’d love to hear them. Thanks for all your work and for sharing with us.

    • JAmie said,

      would love info on the love notes and love challenge more in depth…thanks

  10. Tiphanie said,

    I was wondering if you had certain questions to ask the group after each session and if so could you e-mail them to me?? Thanks!!

  11. Valerie said,

    Appreciate your posting. Our church is considering the Beth Moore retreat in a box. If we have a Friday 3 PM to Sunday 2 PM time frame is this doable in additon to having our own free time, fun and fellowship?
    I see this posting is 4 years old! Have you done any retreats since? I highly recommend the Group for Women’s “Wonder Full World” retreat in a box.!

    • jgumm said,

      Definitely. There are 4 video session. My suggestion would be to do one on Friday with some fun stuff. Then you could do two on Sat morning (w/ a short break in between) and have the whole afternoon off (we did that) and then have the final one Sunday morning with a worship time. You should have plenty of time. We had a Thurs 5pm – Sat 12pm time frame.


      Writer, designer, orphan advocate

      “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27

  12. Katrina Davis said,

    I happened to come across this blog looking for some ideas on what to incorporate in our Loving Well Retreat. We are having it in May around mother’s day but we are planning it now. Can you please email me that schedule that you used along with the two games that you mentioned? It seems like you all had a lot of fun!! We are hosting the retreat actually at our church and for the break out sessions we are using the classrooms at our church. I guess it would sort of be set up more like a conference than a retreat. We need ideas for decorations, food, etc since we arent having it at a resort or cabin. Any additional information that you can provide me would be greatly appreciated!! This is our first retreat/conference that our Women’s Department is hosting so we want it to be fun and full of love!!! Thanks again! ~Kat

    • Loretta Swanson said,

      How was your retreat? Our retreat is next Feb. but we are getting started. We are looking at “Loving Well”. Could you send me a copy of your schedule? Was the response to the DVD good? Would you use this format again?


      • jgumm said,

        I would definitely recommend it.

        I lost my retreat schedule in a computer crash but if I recall correctly there are 4 parts to the DVD. We had a Thurs eve arrival time and did one part on Thurs night. Two parts Friday morning (w/ break in between), had a break Friday afternoon. Last section was Friday night. Closed Saturday morning w/ Worship and sharing and left around 11 on Sat.

        Hope this helps. ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

        Author “Adopt Without Debt: Creative Ways to Cover the Cost of Adoption”

        Writer, designer, orphan advocate

        Follow me on Twitter: @jgumm

        “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27

  13. Valeri said,

    This is the first time we have held a retreat. We are looking at Friday night (6pm) to Saturday afternoon (3-4pm ?) Can we get all 4 sessions done in that time period with being too overwhelmed? Please send me your schedule and any other suggestions you might have. Thank you.

  14. Joy said,

    I would love if you would send me your retreat schedule, as we are getting ready to do it and I could use some help! 🙂

    • jgumm said,

      Unfortunately I lost all those files when I transitioned jobs.

      Sorry! …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. Author “Adopt Without Debt: Creative Ways to Cover the Cost of Adoption”

      Writer, designer, orphan advocate

      Follow me on Twitter: @jgumm

      “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27

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  16. Michelle said,

    Hi I’m wondering if you could get more information about the love notes. My email is

    Thank you

  17. Dianne Pike said,

    I am excited about receiving this Beth Moore study.
    We are hosting a luncheon/tea on May 11th, 2013 and I would like to introduce this study to the ladies attending. I thought about doing the 1st session after the luncheon and then continue the next weekend?
    Any suggestions???
    I will have this in my home.
    Thanks very much…
    Warmly in Him,
    e-mail is

  18. megkeith said,

    Thank you so much for this post! I am a Women’s Ministry leader and plan on doing this study for a weekend retreat as well. Would you mind sending me the “schedule” and any other info you wouldn’t mind sharing? Such a blessing!! Thank you!

  19. Shari said,

    Would love to have a copy of your schedule you did. We are considering doing this as our women’s retreat. Thanks! Shari

  20. Carolyn Hassel said,

    Thank-you for your lowdown! I had selected this study 3 years ago for our ladies fall retreat and then opted for something else but I am now thinking it is perfect.
    Can you possibly send me the schedule you did – I would be so very greatful! – THANK-YOU!! Many Blessings, Carolyn

  21. Lori Ankrom said,

    Loved hearing about your event- we are doing her study in May on a weekend retreat- would love to have a copy of your schedule, and the two activities you spoke about- thanks for sharing- we are really excited and would love any information you could pass along! Thanks Lori

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