4 Essential Elements of an Amazing Personal Retreat

You need to do a retreat!

I can already hear you say, “Ugggg, I’m exhausted from the year and have no energy to put on a retreat”.

That’s not the kind of retreat I’m talking about.  You need to go on a personal retreat.  –A retreat where you spend time with God, plan, and fill your empty tank.

In fact I believe an annual personal retreat is a critical piece of your effectiveness and the effectiveness of your ministry.  Think of it as you taking your car to the mechanic or going to the doctor for a checkup.  When these things are done regularly everything runs more effectively and often you can catch problems before they become too big.

Here’s 1 key and 4 elements of a personal retreat a success.

The Key: Have a Plan

I tend to say this a lot, but be intentional.  Go into your retreat with a plan.  As the old saying goes, “if you aim at nothing you will hit it every time.”  Your annual personal retreat is much too important to leave to chance.

Below are 4 steps you need to take as you plan an awesome personal retreat.

1. Prepare Spiritually

This is not a time to only pour over a strategic plan.  Your first priority on a personal retreat is you.  Have a plan on what the spiritual component will look like.

  • Are you going to read through one particular book of the bible?
  • Instead will you do a bible study on one particular word or theme?
  • Will you spend time in Lectio Divina?
  • Will you bring planned ahead prayer requests?
  • Will you use a prayer guide?

These are all things you need to think about and plan for to have a great spiritual component to your personal retreat.

2. Pick the Right Place

Where you have your personal retreat is super important.  It cannot be in your office.  There are just too many distraction there.  It also shouldn’t be in your house (even if it is empty) or your regular coffee shop.

You need to break your routine and go somewhere that you do not usually go to.  There is a retreat centre in my city and I can rent a room for $30 for the day.  This is money well spent.  I can be focus and am not disturbed.  This is key for the place that you choose.

3. Evaluate

You need to take part of your day to evaluate.  There are many different things you can look at and evaluate.  They could be;

  • Your spiritual life
  • Creating a life plan
  • Your marriage or relationships
  • The ministry
  • Effectiveness of outreach
  • Leader training and deployment

There is no end of things you can evaluate, the key is to plan for them -.

4. Set Goals

At the end of your day you need to come up with some goals that you have written down and can look at for the next year.  There is power in written goals that are reviewed regularly.  These goals will come from whatever you spent time evaluating.

You might be thinking that this is a lot of work and might not be worth it.  However, this can one day a year can become a lifeline for you for the rest of the year.

So, do a personal retreat and take the time to do it well.

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Tyson Howells

Tyson is the associate youth ministry director for Vanguard Youth Ministry Institute. He has been a youth pastor for many years in Winnipeg as well as in Edmonton. Tyson is passionate in seeing relational youth ministry that results in youth that are passionate about following Jesus. He still leads a small group at the youth group in his home church.