When a group takes time out for spiritual refreshment at a retreat, the whole church body benefits. Here are a few things we’ve noticed in the Retreat Department:
- Renewed and refreshed, they are able to share the key truths that gave them a new perspective in their walk with Jesus Christ
- Unity developed among those at the retreat spreads through the congregation as they return to fellowship
- Relationships at home are dealt with in a more positive and hopeful manner due to the chance to rest and find renewal in God
- Revived and restored teachers and leaders are better prepared to encourage and minister
ANY amount of time taken to get away and focus on God will bear fruit in the lives of individuals and the church! With a whole world of needs and possibilities facing us, how do we decide what to give our life and energies to? The Bible has always recognized that believers are uniquely gifted and called to serve the Lord. We believe the same holds true for Christian ministries.
From our perspective in the Retreats Department, our main objective is to eliminate all distractions from each and every guest to allow the Lord to work in a multitude of lives. We want the rooms to be clean when you arrive, the meals to be hot and delicious, and your meeting room to be just what your group needs. Our staff has a heart for your ministry and the importance of each guest having private time with the Lord.
Over the years, lots of very worthy ideas have been enthusiastically suggested as areas of ministry the Conference Center could pursue. For example, starting a Christian radio station, or retirement center, a shelter for the poor and homeless, a church and/or church planting ministry, and even being a wholesale product distributor to Christian camps and other ministries in the Northwest.
Each suggestion has been prayerfully considered, but each time the Lord has made it clear that these would detract from our primary purpose.
What does this mean to our guests? It means that the Conference Center staff and board will do the very best they can to provide a place where people will always hear the Word of God, in an atmosphere where physical, emotional, and spiritual refreshment and renewal may occur.
Why should you go to retreat?
- Spiritual Refreshment. How long has it been since you were quiet before God?
- To get Acquainted. Do you really know the people in your Bible study group/men’s group/senior’s group/ladies fellowship group?
- To have Fun. How often do you get to really play? And at the beach, no less!
- To Work. Is your choir ready for that first performance? Have your board members had time to have that crucial meeting? And don’t forget the sacred work of prayer itself – it’s incredibly refreshing to be able to get away and have nothing to focus on but the Lord.
One of the common problems retreat leaders encounter in getting folks to come to retreat over a weekend is the old question: ‘What if they miss Sunday morning?’ We would like to offer a few suggestions that may help.
How do we replace Sunday School teachers?
- consolidate classes for a special Bible activity
- bring in a special storyteller, speaker, or clown ministry for children
- consolidate adult classes, possibly discuss how to encourage those coming home from a ‘mountain top’ experience
When the women/men are all gone, how do we help dads/moms get the kids to church?
- offer a continental breakfast at the church as a special event for those left behind
- organize carpools for anyone without transportation
What will we do with a smaller congregation on Sunday morning?
- adjust format for a more relaxed atmosphere
- have special speakers, movies, program
- focus on the value of retreats for spiritual growth
- spend time in prayer for those on the retreat
How do we find childcare for two nights?
- develop in the congregation a sense of the value of retreats. Encourage those who stay home to see themselves as enablers and prayer warriors – what can they do to help care for the kids?
- a parent left home with the children may want to get together with another similar family for activities and meals
- have a church sponsored activity for children and those caring for them one afternoon (zoo, carnival, field trip, etc.)