Retreat Planning – Notes

note takingSo you’ve been thinking about hosting a retreat. The ideas are flowing. But knowing where to actually begin is the first obstacle. Let’s start with one very helpful hint. This is something you probably already do, but a reminder never hurts.

There will be myriad small details and fleeting ideas that you’ll want to capture before they flit out of your mind forever. We recommend recording those thoughts by taking lots of notes. A few years ago, this meant using a pen or pencil to write on a tablet, which, to those of a previous generation, meant “sheets of paper, bound together on one side and used as a writing surface”. Today, your tablet is likely to look very different—but it will do the job just fine. (Evernote is a great app for this!) Use it! Rely on it! It will anchor you to your plan.

Most of us are familiar with a series of questions called the Five W Formula. This is a great place to begin the information-gathering you’ll need to do in order to formulate a successful retreat plan. The well-known Five Ws are considered to be the basis for all research and journalism as well as social and scientific investigations. Children are often taught to use these five questions as they learn to assess situations and make decisions. The Five W’s are:

  • Who?
  • What?
  • Where?
  • When?
  • Why?

There is often a sixth component added: the “H” question. For most of us who plan retreats, especially for non-profit groups such as church/ministry events, the H question is of great significance: How?…or, in this case: How Much?

Begin thinking about how you will answer these six essential questions. If you have any ideas to share with other readers, feel free to jump into the conversation.

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