Contributions from Jim Power (PV CG Leader)
Every group has been there…the proverbial “fork in the road”. Maybe the scenario is that the group has been very successful in the hands of God to change the lives of the group members, and as a leader you sense it is time to do something dramatic to keep the group’s momentum toward transformation. Or maybe you’re in the opposite position as a group leader: your group has lost its focus and intentionality in building one another up. In either case, maybe the answer for your Community Group’s “fork in the road” is to have a weekend spiritual retreat.
WHEN DO YOU GO ON RETREAT?
Before deciding to take your group on retreat, it is important to help lead your group members in understanding why your group should go on retreat. Consider finding a few key people in your group who support the idea and are willing to take part in the planning process. Once you have identified those key group members, present the idea to your group. It is so important for the group as a whole to be part of the decision-making process. As a group, we first determined if there was enough interest to pursue the idea before making any plans. After we determined that the group supported the idea, we went forward with our planning team. Having broad based support among the group members is vital to the success of your group’s retreat.
HOW DO YOU ORGANIZE A GROUP RETREAT?
Planning for your retreat is crucial and is a big part of the overall experience! Having a good retreat starts with you as the leader observing those in your group who have skills and a passion for organizing (room accommodations, scheduling, planning meetings), hospitality (food prep, meal planning, kitchen supplies, kitchen clean-up), social activities (games, ice-breakers, team building exercises). Then you, as the leader, develop the spiritual emphasis. Our group’s spiritual emphasis was on discovering our spiritual gifts and calling. This included taking spiritual gift surveys, having some teaching time, group exercises, small group discussion. The planning of the retreat itself was an exercise in spiritual gifts as it gave opportunities for individuals to use their gifts and talents in the planning and preparation before and during the retreat. In Part 2, next week, we’ll cover more on developing the spiritual emphasis of your retreat.
Be sure that during your retreat your Community Group has FUN!! Plan outings or activities that allow your group members just to enjoy each other.
THE SPIRITUAL FRUIT OF A RETREAT…
It was great to see how the group members themselves responded to our retreat. Here were a few of the comments I received from group members after we spent the weekend together.
“To get better acquainted with [group members] and have fun learning about God.”
“Creates a deeper bond between members of the group, where each person would feel comfortable in sharing. This would help them to grow spiritually. Also, this would help remove any fears or boundaries allowing them to be vulnerable with each other.”
“I just think we don’t have enough quality time to really deepen relationships in the classroom only.”
“Moving from superficial relationships to deeper caring and bonding relationships.”
“Time to visit with old and new friends alike or just being able to kick back and relax.”
“We have learned that members who are on the fringe of the group (so to speak) become more fully integrated into the fellowship of the class.”
“Our class sets a high priority on relationships; because we have learned we cannot effectively minister to each other unless we know each other on a personal level. Getting away for an overnight outing brings people closer together and better able to join together with each other and the larger church to do effective ministry.”
Check back next week for Part 2, covering more on developing the spiritual emphasis of your retreat.
Have you had a similar experience leading your group on retreat? What did you learn in the experience? LEAVE A REPLY