When Life Gives You Lemons, Host an Online Retreat For Women in Church Planting
Have you seen the mug that says: “I miss precedented times”? The first time I saw it I wanted to ‘buy now with one click’ (thanks, Amazon, for this helpful and dangerous feature). I think many people – including women in church planting – are sensing this desire for more normalcy and knowing what to expect. For Bloom, the normal, expected thing we do in September is gather women together in person for our annual retreat. However, this year we are rolling with the challenges of COVID-19 and have moved to a virtual retreat experience on September 24, from 12 – 4 EST.
The purpose of the Bloom Retreat remains the same: to provide women with sacred space to connect with God and each other. The retreat is for women in church planting, which includes all lead planters, co-planters, spouses of lead planters, staff members, and spouses of staff members. Virtual or in-person, the Bloom Retreat provides an opportunity for women to invest in their personal development and be encouraged to lean into their own strengths in their own ministry contexts–regardless of her role in church planting. The Bloom community represents a unique group of women who are serving and leading as they start churches all over the country.
When we made the decision to move our retreat online, admittedly there was some disappointment for many women (including myself!) that we could not gather in Denver as originally planned. However, since many of our churches are pursuing phygital church strategies, we know a lot more than even a year ago about best practices in creating an engaging online experience. The Stadia team has partnered with and empowered church leaders to help them creatively pursue mission and be the hands and feet of Jesus through the COVID crisis.
So in our initial planning for the Virtual Bloom Retreat, I knew I needed to reach out to Jeff Reed: Stadia’s Director of Digital Church Planting. Jeff encouraged our team to hone in on what has been attendees’ favorite elements of the retreat and work to create that virtually. That’s exactly what our team is doing!
What, then, are the favorite elements of the Bloom Retreat? We always ask women to tell us 1-2 things they loved about the retreat on their feedback form. Here’s what they said in 2019:
“I love connecting with other women who are on the front lines of starting churches.”
“Hearing that I am not alone.”
“The stories of other women.”
“The opportunities for connection.”
“Being around other women in leadership. Gleaning from other’s lived-experience.”
Connection. Community. Stories.
That’s what our 2020 Virtual Bloom Retreat is all about. The condensed schedule includes time for women to connect with others in similar ministry and life stages, as well as worship through music and time for reflection. In addition to these elements, Jo Saxton will be our speaker this year! Jo is an incredible communicator-as well as an author, speaker, and church planter-and is passionate about influence and stories. Her most recent book, Ready to Rise, takes a look at real-life issues that women face and walks readers through examples of empowered women in the Bible.
If you or someone you know is interested in attending this year’s retreat, we would love for you to register today! Prices increase on Friday, August 14 and you must register by Labor Day (September 7) to receive a Retreat Kit in the Mail. This Retreat Kit includes some fun Bloom merchandise as well as a couple surprises to help make your retreat experience meaningful–we don’t want you to miss out on this fun element of the retreat! You can register at: https://stadiachurchplanting.org/bloom/signatureevents/.
To our brothers in Christ in church planting: would you commit to praying for the women who are already registered or are dreaming about registering for this event? I believe that the impact of morning or afternoon retreat could be a needed espresso shot of energy for women in church planting in what has been a very intense year. Please pray that this event would be a marker for women; that they would know that they are not alone in their lives and roles in church planting.
I can’t wait for September 24! I am praying that even this half day retreat would exceed our expectations and be a springboard for continued relationships that encourage women in church planting throughout the year.
Heidy helps empower women to thrive in all areas of church planting. Prior to church planting and her role in Bloom, Heidy worked for 10 years in Leadership Development and Higher Education. She and her husband Josh planted Movement Church in Newport, KY in March, 2014 and have two amazing kiddos, Isaac and Clara Jo. Heidy is also passionate about storytelling and making any event or activity just a little more fun.