Is she real?
Speakers who give the impression they are perfection personified are liars. Find a speaker who is a fellow struggler, yet an overcomer. Ask her to tell her story early in the retreat, especially if she is a stranger. As she opens up her life to the women who attend, they will open up their lives to one another. Then the process of healing can begin.  


Is she personable?
No matter how good the speaker, if she doesn’t spend time with the women, she sabotages her message. You want a speaker who connects with women one-on-one or in groups, especially with those who have questions or need a special word of counsel. Speakers who join women at meals, sit to talk and pray after main sessions, and take time to greet women beforehand show the heart of Jesus and back up their words with action.


What is her heart attitude? Is she a super-star, an entertainer there to make a name for herself—or does she genuinely care about the women she is teaching? For a retreat that changes lives, choose a speaker who cares rather than a prima donna!


How do you recruit a speaker?
Pray about the names of recommended women, asking God to reveal His choice for that year’s retreat. Remember to work with one speaker at a time. If you cannot work out the details with one, then you know she isn’t God’s choice, and you begin the process again with another.


Contact your candidate by phone to learn about her availability and fee. If these meet with your approval, explain your expectations. How many messages would she deliver? Are there other meetings you want her to attend? If she is positive about the possibility, ask her to pray and tell her you will call her back, giving her a time frame when she can expect to hear from you.


If she accepts the invitation, meet face to face. Now is the time to work out details. If she isn’t local, set up a time for an extended phone call. What details do you need to agree on?


What do the women need to hear?
Often a retreat speaker will have three or four prepared retreat “packages” to choose from—subjects that are her passion. You know the women who will be attending. Does one of these subjects meet their particular needs right now? If not, is the speaker willing to create new retreat messages for you? Preparation time may be up to eighty hours for four new messages. Some speakers simply do not have the time. Others are willing. Take this into account when you pay her.


What will you pay her?
Fees vary from speaker to speaker. Professional speakers and authors often have a set fee, sometimes thousands of dollars as well as air fare and expenses. Authors want to sell their books and some even bring a team to oversee their sales. If she is traveling, you are expected to pay airfare or mileage as well as accommodations and meals. Most churches can’t afford a professional speaker and instead look for a woman in their locale. There are probably a number of excellent speakers right in your back yard. Talk to women at other churches. Whom have they enjoyed?


Most local speakers do not charge a set fee but work with the church on the amount. What is reasonable? Find out what a speaker normally is paid in your area for a luncheon and multiply by the number of messages. Explain to the speaker if you have a limited budget, and she may be willing to speak for less. Work out these details up front.