Tag Archive: staff retreat

Planning a staff retreat (sans strategy)

This week our church’s ministerial staff will be on retreat. Once a year we take two and half days away. While we’re there on this annual outing, here’s what we don’t do:

  • Plot the next year’s activity calendar
  • Wordsmith our church’s mission statement
  • Review ministry opportunities and determine the wins/losses of our efforts

Instead, we strive to: Connect to God and each other.

That’s it. It’s a simple purpose, and it’s easy to plan. When I am planning each time-slot, all I ask is – will this time help our staff connect to God and each other?

I’ve written before about why strategy conversations are critical to church staffs. I also do my share of calendar planning, wordsmithing strategies, and reviewing a lot of our staff’s activities. But at this retreat, I think it’s best to pull away from that, both literally and figuratively.

Here’s what we do include in the retreat:

  • Teaching from our pastor
  • An outside guest who can bless and encourage our souls through teaching
  • Worship led by an outside leader, so every staff member can engage as a worshipper (and not a leader of worship)
  • Solitude
  • Suggested soul-care exercises
  • Late-night World Series watching. Due to the time of year, usually a whole bunch of people gather around the common room’s TV to watch a game.
  • Recreation (Wiffle ball tends to be our favorite) I highly encourage everyone to participate in recreation time… even if they don’t play, I want them there to laugh and encourage people (or make fun of others’ lack of athleticism).
  • A whole lot of eating…the best fellowship usually occurs during our meals together.

The pace is slow. I want to suspend our rushed lives, even for two days. There’s margin left in the agenda so our staff have more time to get to know each other deeper, and so they have adequate times to take their spiritual disciplines to a deeper level.

Does your staff have time to pull away and just be? A time when your focus is about relationships with God and each other?

Whether a retreat or half day away from the office, you’ll find significant value in unplugging from the ministry work routine, and retreating.

When you have a large group, it’s hard to satisfy everyone’s desire. You’ll hear lots of opinions about what should and shouldn’t have been included in a retreat. But here’s what I’ve determined about this retreat… they may not love everything that’s planned, but it’s going to be hard for them to not have connected with God and others while away. And that makes it worth it.

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