Why do people attend retreats? One of the main reasons is to have a break from their everyday life so they can focus more on their relationship with God. Your guests spend their entire week inside at work or at home, so don’t keep them indoors at your retreat. Now, I am not saying that you need to spend your entire event outside. What I am recommending is to schedule time for them to get out and enjoy God’s creation. Here are some ideas on how to incorporate the great outdoors at your retreat:
1. Plan a picnic.
Take a break from eating at the dining hall and schedule a picnic for lunch or dinner! This is a wonderful way to mix it up and to encourage your guests to mingle while getting some fresh air.
2. Hold a worship service (or two) in the great outdoors.
At all of the Christian Retreat Network properties, there are outdoor sites where you can host your worship service. Guests will enjoy this change in scenery and may even feel closer to God being outdoors. Check with guest services on what AVL equipment is available for you to use. Such as a portable Bluetooth sound system or a projector. If you prefer to go old school, arrange for someone to lead your worship music with an acoustic guitar. Make sure to bring water for whomever is speak at worship to help them avoid straining their voice.
3. Take advantage of the property’s team building program or premium recreation options.
Just because you schedule free time for your guests, doesn’t mean they are going to spend it outside. With that being said, challenge them by scheduling a team building exercise. Another option would be to plan a premium recreation activity. Such as an afternoon at the beachfront, riding go karts or rock climbing.
4. Take a hike (or a walk).
Schedule time for your group to go on a short hike. After spending time in God’s word, a hike or a walk is a wonderful way to allow guests to digest what they have learned. Some Christian Retreat Network properties have hiking trails available. Or, you could schedule an early morning walk or run before breakfast for those who like to start their day off with some exercise. No matter what, make sure to follow the rules/guidelines provided by the property, bring plenty of water and take a first aid kit just in case!
5. Schedule a campfire.
Around the fire you could have a reflection discussion, sing campfire songs or arrange for s’mores to be available as a late-night treat. No matter what, campfires are a wonderful way to end a day full of learning about God. Your guests will enjoy relaxing next to a warm fire and gazing up at the stars.
Retreats are a wonderful way to disconnect from your everyday life and reconnect with God. With that being said, give your guests a break from always being indoors. Get up, go outside and enjoy God’s creation.