The Essentials of an Unforgettable Retreat
Growing up in a church, I have often been to many retreats, and I find it confounding how each one still manages to create a new experience. Many churches recognise the importance of time spent away from one’s normal life to reconnect with God, which is why they encourage their congregation to go on retreats every now and then.
People can talk to God anywhere, but intentionally removing yourself from the demands and pressures of life can help you listen to things that are drowned away by everyday worries. When an individual or group takes time out for spiritual refreshment and go on a retreat, the whole church body benefits. Participants come back renewed and refreshed, and they are able to have a more positive relationship with people and a deeper relationship with God.
If you have been tasked by your church to organise a retreat, consider it an honour! You will need to consider a few things in order to make it as unparalleled as possible.
The more you plan in advance, the more organised you will be, and the overall outcome will be of higher quality. As early as now, start focusing on these four key things:
The first thing you will need to focus on is your theme because your activities will revolve around it and your speakers will be covering topics relating to it. Choose a theme that can be applied to everyday life and something participants can easily resonate with.
More importantly, pick a theme that addresses pressing issues in your church, in your city and in the world today.
The speakers are the models of what God can do in a person’s life. They must be grounded in God’s Word and should be able to communicate it in a way that is interesting, relevant and applicable.
The speakers should be skilled in connecting with the audience and present their material in ways that are easily grasped by the retreat participants.
There are a number of activities that can comprise a retreat, from sessions to workshops to an hour of silence — the list is simply endless. Make sure to choose activities that participants will learn something from and will help strengthen their relationship with God.
Aside from this, it’s also important to include a few games to help break the ice and make learning more fun and entertaining.
Your location will start coming into play when you have decided on your activities. The venue will complete the whole retreat experience.
Find a place that accommodates group activities, and offers spaces for individual time. Consider venues that have access to the outdoors or involves actually getting away from where groups usually gather. If it is an overnight or a weekend retreat, also check if a venue offers guest accommodation for your conference or retreat needs.
On that note, if you are on the hunt for the perfect place to hold your retreat, Uniting Venues offers wonderful Christian venues and welcomes all groups. Head on to their website at http://unitingvenues.org/our-locations/.