Earlier this week we talked about sending youth leaders on a retreat now that their students were back in school, but they aren’t the only ones who can benefit from a retreat this time of year. Fall is the perfect time for an adult retreat. It doesn’t have to be a week long, we know how busy everyone is, but a night or two can really work wonders in off-site ministry. It may be hard because of this busyness to get a bunch of people, but finding a date that works for the most people is going to be the best option, especially for those with kids in school.
Don’t forget to ask about off-season discounts, because fall retreats mean more open dates and lower package rates. Aside from the fact that most properties will be emptier during the off-season, they will specifically be emptier of kids. This can make for a more relaxing and quieter stay for adults. Not that they aren’t great, but we all know how loud a group of 200 energized, screaming kids can get.
Before going, figure out the goals for this retreat. What do you want guests to take away from this experience? Is it a deeper interpersonal connection amongst the group? Are there problems you want to tackle within the church or organization? Or are guests just wanting to strengthen their faith? Whichever is the case, make sure all activities and sessions keep the goals as the main focus. Let all aspects of the retreat come together to reach that end. Just remember that this is not church, it is a retreat, so make it different.
Some possible group-specific retreats include:
· Couples retreats: After a summer with the kids at home, couples can use this retreat to reconnect to each other. Plan bible studies by gender and couples meetings so that the bonds grow both within the couple and with the other couples. Team building activities are also great, because they allow a couple to work together to accomplish goals, a great reminder of the teamwork needed for marriage. For more couples retreat ideas, click here.
· Men’s retreats: Men like to get together and have fun, so why not send them on a retreat to learn about Christ while doing so? Make sure to include athletics, most men like being active and thrive in competition. One of the best ways to continue to build bonds during this competition is by splitting them into teams. For example, if you have 30 men, split them into 3 teams of 10. Then throughout the course of the retreat they will work together to earn points, building lifelong friendships. To get really extreme, add some adventure recreation. Nothing gets the heart rate up like navigating an obstacle course 30 feet off the ground or racing down a zip line. Just make sure to discuss the spiritual aspects that accompany it. When it comes to lessons and bible study, try to focus more on experiences and challenges, because if they wanted to listen to another sermon, they would have just gone to church. For some men’s retreat theme ideas, click here.
· Women’s retreats: Women like to talk, so make sure there is plenty of time for discussion. It can be hard to get away from the kids for a long time, so consider that when planning, maybe a day event will work best. Activity ideas including pampering, like massages or manicures, games, including dancing and ice breakers for groups that don’t all know each other, and skits from bible stories are sure to get your guests relaxed and having fun. Some fall themes for women’s retreats can be found here.
· Senior retreats: Now that the weather is cooling off, many older adults would be willing and able to be out and about. A quiet nature walk through the colorful leaves or a discussion or prayer time by the lake can be a big hit. Bible studies are also a great way to spend the retreat, especially by finding verses that tailor specifically to members of this group. As for activities, you’re never too old to have fun. Plan a bonfire, game night, or team building session, which can be done indoors or out for all ages.
Retreats, after all, are about fun and worship, so let the adults loose for awhile, they deserve it.