Is It Time to Retreat?

Written by Bill Whitt
July 27, 2023

With fall launches just around the corner, late summer is the perfect time to organize a leadership retreat.

In the relentless weekly rhythm of church ministry, it can be easy to lose sight of the big picture. Sunday is always coming, so we often put team development and vision work on the back burner.

  • With fall launches just around the corner, late summer is the perfect time to organize a leadership retreat. This investment in getting the staff, council, and lay leaders all moving in the same direction is time well spent!

Two of the most important parts of leadership retreats are helping team members learn more about one another and learn more about the church’s mission and vision. This week, I’ll share some ideas about how to help the team grow together. Next week, I’ll share more ideas about how to help them rally around a shared vision for the future.

Five Ideas to Help Solidify the Team
 Idea 1: Share Testimonies
  • Empathy is currency on a team. Love for one another will cover a multitude of sins.
  • We can foster love and understanding on our teams by asking each person share the story of how God has led them through the difficulties of life that we all experience.
 Idea 2: Use Personality Testing
  • We’re all wired differently. Some people work best in collaboration with others 24/7. Others do their best work when concentrating on ideas quietly.
  • If we don’t take the time to understand our differences, we will perceive other team members’ actions in a negative light. Some assessments that can help with this include the Working Genius, the Birkman, and the Enneagram.
Idea 3: Cultivate Self-Awareness
  • Everyone brings something different to the table. However, many people are not aware of the unique value they can add to a conversation.
  • One way to increase self-awareness is to ask everyone to come to the retreat prepared to say what they can uniquely contribute. For example, new employees might say that they have fresh eyes, while those who have been around longer may say they have a grasp of the organization’s history.
Idea 4: Share Affirmation
  • It’s easy to develop a critical spirit. As we pursue excellence, our attention naturally drifts toward areas that need improvement. While that is important, it is also crucial to cultivate a culture of positivity and encouragement.
  • A powerful way to build goodwill on a team is to set aside time to celebrate wins and share encouragement. As each person receives affirmation, they will become more confident in their calling and more trusting of their teammates.
Idea 5: Have Fun!
  • Don’t forget to be silly! If you create a day-long staff meeting, people will leave exhausted rather than energized.
  • Your youth director might be a great source of ideas about how to have fun while also learning to trust one another. Whether it’s a team-building game or a simple icebreaker, don’t overlook how important fun is in the equation!

Leave a Reply

fifteen − nine =

What others have said...
Join the next Church Renewal Lab!


The Church Renewal Lab is a two-year renewal kick-start helping congregations refresh their mission focus as they seek to make more and better disciples.

Learn More

Time remaining to join:


Subscribe to CCR Newsletter

Newsletter Subscription

Latest Articles

Take FREE Assessment