An excellent retreat program can draw women to their church’s women’s ministry like bees to flowers. Most women love to get away from their daily responsibilities for a time of spiritual and physical refreshment. Often, the choice of guest speaker attracts the attention and provokes women to attend. What qualities should leaders look for in a speaker? How do we choose the right speaker for our women’s retreat?


The speaker’s significance to the retreat can not be overstated. She proclaims the Word of God. She is the model of what Jesus can do in women’s lives. In a sense, she is the Lord’s representative, speaking on His behalf to woo women into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and to build up those who already know Him. The speaker sets the tone of the retreat, making it an inspiring God-glorifying experience — or a let down. Choose your speaker carefully and prayerfully.


Questions to consider: 
Is she grounded in God’s Word?
To transform lives, choose a Bible teacher. Be sure she teaches messages based on the Scriptures and sound doctrine. You may want her to affirm your church’s doctrinal statement to ensure her beliefs are similar to those of your church. Often friends or women in your church will recommend speakers they hear. Keep a record of these names to draw from when you are ready to begin the selection process.


There are many ways to evaluate whether a speaker is a good match for your retreat. Explore her church background and training. Check her references. Ask for feedback from others who have heard her speak. Listen to taped messages, or even better, observe her in action to analyze not only the content of her message but also her demeanor and body language.


Is her Bible message interesting, relevant, and applicable?
It’s a sin to bore people with the Bible, but speakers still do. If your speaker is dry, unable to connect or relate to women’s everyday needs, she can ruin the retreat. Find a speaker who is passionate about ministering to women, one who knows issues women today face, and who will challenge them with measurable goals to apply after they leave.


Is she a skilled, gifted communicator?
Find a woman who loves to teach God’s Word and is good at it. You can tell by listening. A gifted teacher connects with her audience. She presents her material in ways that are easily grasped by the newcomer and the veteran. Her content is valuable, something to ponder and chew on. She loves to study and pass on what God teaches her. She is interesting, often humorous, but her message is more than entertaining. There is solid, meaty substance that changes lives, and it is delivered with winsome words and clarity.


Is she mature?
Once a gifted young woman in her early twenties asked her older Bible teacher if she could join the teaching team. The older teacher answered, “But, my dear, what would you have to say?” Certainly the teacher did not mean that this young woman had nothing to offer. However, she had not lived long enough to have very much to say about life. Find a woman who has walked with the Lord long enough to have something meaningful to say. This does not necessarily correspond to chronological age, but often age is a factor.