Our men and women from church went on their retreats during August and had another wonderful time. This trip made the tenth year for our men and almost as many for our women. They started taking retreats a few years after the men and kept them up even when the men took a break from the retreats. We have also had couples retreat, and families often go to our camp meetings. However, between the men and women, retreats have taken place with tent camping, private cabins, bed and breakfasts, family parks, and Christian retreat centers.
At the end of our retreat, one of the guys asked why we came to the retreat year after year. He mentioned there had to be more reasons than fellowship. Here are the four reasons that everyone kept saying. I believe they are foundational for any spiritual retreat we host through the church.
Focus on the Word
We focus on sharing lots of devotions. The retreats are an opportunity for other people to share a devotion who might have a fear of the larger groups at a service. The setting is also more laid back, which makes it easier for people to share. However, studying the Scriptures is a centerpiece of our retreats. Time is not an issue for the studies. Digging deep as a group helps encourage Bible study methods. This particular group setting provides a healthy environment for developing Bible study and prayer as a habit.
Disconnect from the World
Let’s face it, we are living in a connected world, and it is hard to disconnect. For some, the silence is deafening. While others don’t know how to interact with others with the use of a screen. One of the men at our retreat stated, “I have enjoyed not having any signal out here. I’ve really been able to relax.” The funny thing was that we had WiFi, but they had the willpower to even stay disconnected from it. But, it’s not just social media and emails. It’s being subtracted from the constant barrage of bad news. At the retreat, at least for a little bit, you are sheltered from the storm. You are in a place of mutual encouragement.
While we were looking for responses other than fellowship, everything kept coming back to it. It is undeniable. Retreats of this nature promote a high degree of friendship. Even for the more quiet ones, simply being around each other 24/7 is beneficial. A camaraderie grows. Walls that separate each is broken down. The possibility of spiritual sanctuary among friends outside of the physical sanctuary heightens.
The last, but mostly the culmination of these previous reasons, is the result of each attendee receiving a refreshing of their spirit. A revival! Participants may have physical fatigue after a retreat, but spiritually they are on a mountain top rejoicing. Yes, there can be drama. I’ve seen that and its a sad reality of the fallen world we live in now. But, for the most part, people leave the retreat with a great passion for worship, be discipled, and serving.