Scott Talley: 5 Tips for Pulling Off a Life-Changing Retreat Weekend

I know many of us put on Disciple Now weekends, Middle School or High School retreats throughout the year. If we break down the DNA of those weekends, what is the purpose or goal? The goal should always be to accomplish one of two things: evangelize to your students or spiritually grow your students. Outside of these two goals, retreats should not be used for anything else. Here are five things I consider vital to pulling off a life-changing retreat:

1. Plan out your theme and goal for the weekend

Have you ever taken a personal retreat day? I try to take one regularly for my spiritual walk, but once a year I take a day to plan out our next Disciple Now or retreat weekend. Our church is part of a network of about 12 churches that come together to help put on one of the most powerful weekends of the year. Around 700 teenagers in our area come out to our event.

Over the last five Disciple Now weekends I have had the privilege of planning out the theme, speaker and band. But, one of the most important things about the weekend and our planning is the theme for the weekend. Why? Because we need to understand the goal or what outcome we seek for our students.

In March of this year, we had an amazing weekend that centered on the theme of “Rising.” The goal for the weekend was twofold. First, we challenged those who were non-Christians to rise and begin a relationship with Christ. Second, we challenged our students to rise and take their place in their schools, teams and churches to be missionaries for Christ.

Once you set a date for your retreat weekend, begin to plan out the theme and goals. Personally, I have found it fruitful to go on a spiritual retreat to plan out the weekend. But, the most important thing for your ministry is to pray over the goals of the weekend to be accomplished.

2. Choose your speaker and band wisely

There are many amazing speakers and bands within our nation, but I would recommend you talk to the band and the speaker before they arrive. I have put together many retreat weekends over the last 15 years and I have experienced failures in reaching the goals and purpose of the weekend by failing to choose the right speaker or band.

I have gotten to know some amazing speakers because I have called them to hear their heart for not just ministry to students, but also student pastors. I recommend booking your speaker and band a year out and call them so you can clearly hear their heart and share the vision for the weekend.

When it comes to the band you choose to lead worship, I personally love bringing in college students because they tend to invest in my students throughout the weekend. I want the best band I can get and I have seen God use worship bands from local colleges mightily in our Student Ministry. Whoever you choose, make sure they line up with your event theme and goals.

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Source: Church Leaders