Now that we have talked about bringing a group together with ice breakers, let’s talk about alone time on retreats. This may seem a little odd since “groups” go on retreats, but it is important to allow members a chance for themselves. Retreats are about getting away and reconnecting with God. Many group activities are great at helping with this. However, all members need a little one-on-one with the Lord. Jesus, Himself, did that very thing. I wouldn’t suggest going out into the desert alone for days on end. A walk around the property or shut in your room for a little while will suffice.
For planners, this means to schedule some free periods. I know that you have plenty of activities and sessions to do. There are so many things to get in before you have to leave. However, skipping this reflection time is a bad idea. Members are here to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Give them an opportunity to escape the distractions of the world and do what they need to on their own. It can be hard to really concentrate on your life and needs with everyone else around.
A good opportunity to schedule this free time is between activities. This gives everyone a good break from each activity to the next, so that they don’t feel like they are constantly busy. It also ensures everyone is awake and in the right mindset. Better yet, give encouragement at the pre-break activity to use it as a chance to pray and reflect. Let members know that this space is given to them for a purpose. Make sure to allow plenty of time to find their own area and do what they must. This is an important exercise that cannot be rushed.
Use this time to spend peacefully talking with God. Pray! Pray for anything and everything that comes to mind. You may end up getting more out of the retreat and discovering a little more about yourself.
Mark 1:35 “And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.”