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How to Plan a Men’s Church Retreat

The values of brotherhood, mentorship, and community can not be understated, especially in the challenging and uncertain times we find ourselves in. One of the best ways to forge meaningful connections is by spending quality time with like-minded young men looking to rekindle their relationships with God and one another.

The strength of your ministry is dependent on the strength of your bonds, and we fervently believe that by spending time in community with others, we are able to better understand our role in the mission of building the kingdom of God.

Creating a successful retreat requires balancing multiple competing interests and wearing many hats at the same time.

This article will discuss a few of the most important considerations you will have to make as you plan a successful men’s church retreat.

Five Steps to Planning a Men’s Church Retreat

1. Have a Clear Purpose and Communicate It.

Understanding your intention and purpose is integral to ensuring success because these elements form the foundation of retreat. When making these choices, you should consult the key members of your leadership team and ensure everyone is on the same page regarding the purpose and impact of your retreat.

One of the most compelling reasons retreats fail is due to a lack of clarity regarding the retreat’s purpose. As the retreat leader, it is your job to set clear expectations from the onset and manage them throughout the process.

There is not a correct or incorrect purpose or goal, there is only the purpose that is right for your team, organization, and participants. No matter what your goal is, it is important to keep in mind that your retreat is only a stepping stone on the path to forging a strong and dedicated ministry.  

2. Recruit Participants.

Choosing participants is key to ensuring the success of your retreat. The people involved often make or break an experience and it is imperative that those participating understand their role in making the retreat rewarding.

In your search for program participants, a common thread you will run into is a fear of church retreats being too churchy or exclusive. It is essential to emphasize the welcoming and ecumenical nature of your retreat and encourage participation regardless of where people may find themselves on their spiritual journey.

By opening your doors to an assortment of participants, you are able to cast a wide net and recruit a diverse body of attendees whose varied life experiences will help to improve the experience of all involved.

3. Choose a Suitable Space

The space you choose to host your retreat is just as important as the people you choose to invite. The selected venue should reflect the tone and atmosphere you hope to create. When seeking out a space, it is important to consider a number of factors.

A suitable venue should include ample and accessible parking options and private bathroom spaces. You may also consider access to a sound system and security features in your search. Do not forget to keep in mind specific elements your venue may need to accommodate your programming.

4. Make Programming Decisions

Your programmatic choices will be at the heart of your retreat and will help to make or break the experiences for the participants involved. When making these choices, it is important to balance logistical complexity, budgeting limitations, and participant experience to maximize the time you have together.

During the scheduling and planning process, attempt to vary your programming segments to discourage boredom and complacency. This can be done by arranging serious or slow-paced talks between exciting and high-energy activities to ensure participants remain engaged throughout.

The programming you design should be intentional and memorable. The development of programming should be done with the specific participants in mind, paying special attention to accessibility levels, interests, and other factors that will affect participants’ experience.

You should also strive to construct meaningful programs that will stick with participants long after the retreat ends, and help remind them of the bonds they formed and things they learned. Keep in mind that at the end of the day, people will not remember exactly what they did, but they will remember how they felt.

5. Peak-End Rule

The Peak-End Rule is a cognitive bias discovered by researchers Barbara Fredrickson and Daniel Kahneman that impacts how people remember past events. The rule states that people have a tendency to remember the peak moment of an experience and the end moment. Harnessing this rule can help you better control participants’ experience at your retreat.

In this case, the term peak refers to the most intense or meaningful moment, whether it is positive or negative. This can be misleading because it is not necessarily the best moment if the participant feels negative about the moment in question.

The end moment is the conclusion of the event. It can be difficult to control a participant’s peak moment, but it is easier to manage their end moment. So, as you plan your event programming, attempt to craft a conclusion that will leave a positive impression on participants.

Being Successful

Men’s retreats are a perfect opportunity to build fellowship and steward lifelong relationships. To ensure your retreat is successful, be cognizant of each of the factors that will impact your participants’ experience. 

The importance of the role of retreat coordinator can not be understated, and the energy, creativity, and spirituality you bring to the event will be directly correlated to what you get back from program participants. 

If you are ready to book a men’s church retreat at High Peak Camp in Estes Park, please reach out to our team today!