Our student ministry leaves for our annual Fall Retreat this week. I look forward to this weekend every year. It is a weekend filled with fun and community, creation and spiritual renewal. But not everything that happens IN this weekend happens ON this weekend. Some of the most important elements of the retreat will actually happen before the weekend.
Preparation is key. We must come ready for retreat.
Here are three simple ways to get ready for a spiritual retreat.
God faithfully works on retreats, but we should not assume anything. We should seek Him and ask for his provision, care, and intervention during our time away. Prayer also prepares our own hearts as we begin to spiritually focus. So don’t hold your spiritual breath until a retreat. Instead, warm-up and get ready with prayer.
We need rest to retreat. I know that may be surprising, but we need to take a deep breath before we retreat. We need to unwind a bit. By slowing down, we open ourselves to hear. And for a student ministry retreat, a retreat that comes with fun and games, rest prepares us to enjoy those activities. And enjoying those activities is actually an important part of the retreat. Those activities are not superfluous. They build community and act as a release valve for stress. There is nothing better during a busy Fall than to laugh and play in Jesus’ name.
- Work Ahead.
On a practical note, I would encourage you to work ahead. A weekend retreat can leave your Sunday night or Monday morning feeling crazy, so do your best to plan ahead. If you’re a student, do your homework before the retreat. If you’re an adult, consider arranging to come in late Monday. Do whatever you can to make that transition easy. This preparation will allow you to better enjoy the retreat and be fully present there, not worrying about what awaits you when you get home.
I hope these ideas help you prepare to retreat.
Do you have anything you would add to this list? Please share your own suggestions in the comments section.