Place each of the following items/activities in the appropriate category: luxury or necessity.
That wasn’t too hard, right? Our bodies need food and water to live. Phones are something people have made it centuries without. Easy, peasy! Now, where did you put “Retreat”? I’m guessing under the “luxury” category. Maybe because it is fun or something you don’t do that often, so you know you can live without it.
Retreats are consistently cut from the church budget and schedule because they are immediately thought of as a luxury. All of the time and money involved in holding an event can just be too much. Therefore, we scrap the retreat and instead get new choir robes. But churches have come to find that they need retreats in order to survive and flourish. Here’s four reasons why:
1. Retreats grow the church. Retreats provide the ideal opportunity to invite guests, who may then show up again on Sunday morning. Learn more in our blog “Take Me to Church”.
2. Retreats build the church. Focusing on the needs of church members provides a solid foundation that will keep them in the church family and continue to make it stronger. People that feel disconnected are more likely to leave. Retreats build those long-term, Christ-centered relationships that every church needs to survive.
3. Retreats revive people. Some people are in need of a little rekindling for their relationship with God. Some people are in need of a break from the pressure and stress of their daily lives. Some people are in need of a change of scenery. No matter the need, you can be guaranteed that guests will come back renewed from the experience. And to paraphrase here, “Happy congregation, happy church”.
4. Retreats provide opportunities. As previously stated, retreats can provide the opportunity to grow the church by discipling to those who are not in regular attendance on Sunday mornings. But it can also provide leadership opportunities, service projects and connections. It provides a place where people can be inspired. Inspired to get baptized. Inspired to go into ministry. Inspired to restart their lives.
Fun things are often considered a luxury, that are only done when there is extra money in the budget. The statement preceding the decision is always, “Do we really need this?”. The body of the church is the people. Therefore, the church cannot survive without them, just as people cannot survive without food or water. Retreats are a prime way to support those within the congregation. Don’t let it become a luxury. Take care of the need now.