Frequently Asked Questions
… About retreats, workshops and conferences
Why bring in an outside leader for our retreat, workshop or conference?
Not every meeting needs an outside leader, but the skills and perspectives a trained facilitator can bring might be just what your group needs in this moment. Volunteer leadership from within a community can often be a great way to train new people and use the skills of church and organization members. Pastors and executive staff are often trained in facilitation and know they can do just as good a job as an outsider. And sometimes that is true. However, leading a retreat, workshop or conference takes a lot of effort. Leaders cannot be true participants. Their voices may be lost because they are absorbed with the details or their opinions may be the only ones heard if they dominate the conversation. Sometimes an outside facilitator is needed to bring balance to a conversation or cut through “the way it has always been done.” An outside facilitator may help your group see new options. And a trained facilitator can make sure the process used to make a decision is inclusive of everyone. Bringing in a retreat leader can help everyone participate and keeps one or two people from feeling burnt out.
What will an Openings leader do?
Openings retreat and workshop leaders can do as little or as much as a group would like to make your event a success. Each event is tailored to your needs. You provide the scheduling and the participants and we can craft a program in consultation with you on the topic you choose. Often for retreats we provide the content for Bible and book studies, workshop sessions, planning sessions, and theme-related activities. We can provide or work with you to provide music, crafts, worship, and other outside activities that fit the theme. Or we can leave all of that to you and focus on a particular part of the event that you choose. To facilitate a meeting, we work out a process ahead of time with important stakeholders and then take care of all the facilitation and any teaching required. We can work in any space you provide or we can help you find a great location for whatever you have in mind.
Are there set programs for retreats and workshops?
Each event is tailored for your needs, so there is nothing “set” that must be done for an Openings retreat or workshop. But we can suggest retreats and workshops on spiritual development, prayer, Bible and book studies or organizational development that your participants might enjoy or need.
How do I decide on a theme?
When you contact Openings about leading a retreat or workshop, we will schedule a free consultation to talk about your needs and expectations. During that meeting, or in a proposal after that meeting, you will be presented with several ideas to choose from for a theme. After a basic contract is signed, there will be time to tailor the theme or idea to further meet your group’s specific needs.
Can events be planned for any denomination or theological background?
Yes. All events are tailored to meet your needs. Openings staff have facilitated events and led workshops for a variety of secular, Christian and interfaith audiences.
How much does event leadership cost?
Cost for each event will be contracted separately to allow for variations in the needs and plans of each group. However, to give a general idea of cost, a retreat led completely by Openings staff might cost $200 + expenses for a half-day event, $500 + expenses for a full day event, and $500-$1000 + expenses for an overnight event, which includes preparation time. To facilitate a meeting or a short workshop with a specific agenda might be $50-100/hour + expenses.