Any retreat has the potential to make a powerful and lasting impression on everyone who attends. But one of the telltale signs of a truly impactful event is the mark left by the words that are spoken. Of course, the relationships that are formed and the memories that are made are priceless, but there’s just something about a good speaker that really makes the whole retreat. Unfortunately, good speakers aren’t always easy to find, especially when you’re on a budget.
Here are 3 suggestions on how to get free speakers for your retreat:
1. Ask a member of your group.
Sometimes, you don’t have to look far to find great potential. The talent and passion you’re looking for may lie right in front of you. Often people with exceptional skills are hesitant to show it, so instead of waiting for someone to speak up, it’s in your best interest to seek them out. Not everyone has the gift of speaking, and not everyone enjoys using their gift. If you’re picking from your own pool of leaders, be sure that your choice is made out of reason and not simply favor.
2. Have your group leaders collaborate.
Another idea is to not simply have one speaker, but many. Each leader can prepare a message around a certain theme. This diffuses responsibility a little bit, so that no one person has to bear all of it at once. Most people feel pressured and uncomfortable when asked to prepare a whole series of sermons, but you’ll find that many more will agree to write one message about the length of a devotional.
3. Ask churches in your network.
If all else fails, don’t be too proud to tap into your community for help. Churches aren’t stingy or tightfisted; they aren’t ready to withhold business on any catch they can find (or they shouldn’t be, anyway). Many churches would be glad to provide free speakers for the purpose of furthering the Kingdom of God. If reaching people for Christ is your goal, let it be known, and don’t be afraid to accept the charity of those who genuinely desire your success.
Although you may be looking for free speakers to plan a retreat on a shoestring budget, it is always a good idea to provide at least a small token of gratitude to all who participate. This can be done in a variety of ways, including by love offering or even by having the church buy gift baskets. Regardless of your financial circumstances, you can always afford to show your appreciation for those who have helped your vision become a reality. And always remember that all the time and effort spent on the speaking part of your retreat will be well worth it in the end, if even one person is brought closer to God.
Special thanks to WOL Camps in NY and FL for sponsoring this article! Be sure to check them out now.