Your church has decided to plan a retreat. Due to your love for being in charge, you have been selected to help plan the event. You are excited to dig in to the project! There is so much to do. You have a long list of sessions and activities you think the group will love. Every second of the event is accounted for. You walk away from the project feeling good about what you have accomplished. You have managed to cram one week’s worth of sessions and activities into a 2-day retreat! No one else could have pulled that off. Mission accomplished, right?! Not exactly. Your intentions were good, but the overall experience of the group attending may not be.
It’s great to have so many fun ideas for an event. I’m sure the group will enjoy every one of them, but there’s only so much time in a schedule. Making an agenda and mapping out the events of the day is a great way to make guests feel more at ease that there is a plan and they don’t have to come up with their own entertainment. This will definitely help the event run smoother. On the flip side, if an event is over planned, the schedule becomes too rigid. An Over Planner will rely too much on the heavily detailed plan, making it difficult to react to changes in the moment. If a session or activity takes longer than expected, an over-planned schedule will not easily allow for the change. The result will be removing or shortening a session at the last minute. Such unexpected changes can be counterproductive and cause confusion for everyone. Flexibility built into your schedule is important to allow changes if needed.
In addition to allowing for flexibility, it is important to schedule free time. Sessions and organized activities are essential to any well-planned event, but remember that downtime is needed to reconnect with God. Free time to relax, reflect, and renew faith is going to be beneficial for everyone!
Having a schedule is the best way to organize an event. However, it is important to be aware of the need for flexibility and free time. A good balance of sessions, activities, free time, and some wiggle room for unexpected changes are key in planning a great event. Maybe you could save some of those other ideas for your next retreat.