Planning a church retreat is hard work and there are challenges every time you think you have a handle on things. But it really doesn’t have to be that way. One thing is for certain, it will take time and a lot of due diligence on your behalf. Just remember that a poorly planned and poorly executed retreat is worse than having no retreat at all. The following is a list of helpful tips for planning a successful church retreat.
Point #1 – Why you should have a retreat? Ask yourself some pertinent questions like ”Who is this retreat for?” or ”What are their interests, needs, and wants?” Make sure that what is being offered in the retreat will hold everyone’s interest. Don’t assume that since it is interesting to you that it will be to everyone else. Ask people in the congregation/fellowship what their interests are. Get a feel for what is needed by everyone. Start to set a general objective and specific goals to see the direction of the program.
Point #2 – Choose the right facility! Find out from potential participants in the retreat what type of facilities that they are expecting. Several questions to ask are the following:
What kind of accommodations do we want — dorm rooms, motel type, or “rustic” cabins from light materials or concrete? Do we want to cook for ourselves or have the meals provided? If we do our own cooking, is there an extra charge? Do we want bathrooms in the cabins or are outside shower houses okay? Do we want “roast beef” or a “tuna surprise”? In other words are we particular about the quality of the evening meal? How much money do we want to spend, and more importantly, what is the group as a whole willing to spend? The Camp Locator is a community of campsite, retreat and conference centers with varied services that might fit to your objectives program and facility requirement.
Point #3 – Plan a program that will hold everyone’s interest! Plan a creative program inclusive of entertainment, musicians, and speakers. Make sure what you are planning fills interests and wants of the people that will be in attendance. Keep up with current trends and don’t rely on those who tell you ”this is the way we’ve always done it.” Your first reaction to that would be to say ”Well maybe that’s why no one shows up anymore” (and make sure you have that sarcastic grin on your face if it goes to that extent).
Point #4 – Money Matters is Very Important! Make sure that you have a sound budget for all this before presenting it to the board for approval. The first thing you want to do is figure out all your costs — food, lodging, leasing the facility, fees for musicians and speakers, etc. Once you have this calculated, add another 20% to that to cover incidentals and anything that pops up later. When you are determining the cost per person to help cover all these expenses, work the numbers in reverse. In other words, let’s say that the expenses will be 00,000 and you are expecting 100 people. Normally that would equate to 0 per person. Take that 00,000 and divide it by 80 instead of 100, because for every 100 people that say they will show up, 20% of them won’t. So now, you will advertise the retreat at 5 per person instead of 0 per person.
Pointer #5 – Promote, promote, promote! Start advertising the retreat 3-4 months before hand. Have flyers printed for hand outs and make sure they are in the foyer every time there is a service. Post bulletins on all the church ground bulletin boards and make sure that every bulletin that is printed has a blurb about the retreat. Here’s another tip — offer a discount on the price for early sign-ups. If you wind up losing another per person but instead of 80 people who sign up and attend it turns out to be 120 (@ 0 each), that’s 00,000. The bill is paid and anything over and above can go into the church fund for activities and expenses down the road.
For more information about planning your church retreat, church retreat ideas, corporate retreats or teambuilding programming, please visit http://visioncampsoutdooreducation.weebly.com or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Camp Attended: 1st Camp: LCD/DC Camps with IVCF in Talisay Batangas in 1981; 2nd Camp: Kawayan Camp '82 Summer April-May Student Leadership in Sibonga, Cebu;