We all know getting away—whether that’s a vacation, a day with the Lord, or a team retreat—is an essential part of leadership and ministry. And yet if you’re like me, you know how easy it is to let these opportunities slip by the wayside. So in the spirit of encouragement, here are just a few ways that retreating actually sets us and our entire team up for success.
1. New ideas and insights
Has this ever happened to you? You’re racking your brain all day to come up with the solution to a problem. You leave for the day, and the minute the outside air enters your lungs, the obvious solution hits you. Sometimes, just the simple act of changing scenery, getting outside, or mixing up your routine can kick-start creativity. Even more, transplanting your entire team to a new location for a few days can be a great way to take reignite growth in areas where it may have stalled.
In ministry, we are constantly pouring ourselves out for others. And while this is a great joy and privilege, let’s be honest: it gets heavy. Every phone call or email represents another hurting person, broken marriage, or a prognosis that’s “not good.” We all need to occasionally step away from all the pouring out and go someplace where others can pour into us so we can return to our ministry with renewed vigor and strength. As Solomon says, “one who waters will himself be watered.” (Proverbs 11:25)
3. New perspective
Left to ourselves, we all tend to our own idiosyncrasies, so hearing from a fresh perspective every so often is invaluable. Whether that means bringing in an outside speaker, or taking your team to a conference, you’ll spark great conversations and examine different ministry philosophies. You might even walk away with a plug-n-play solution that you can start right away.
I know, I know—we’re not bound by the Law any more. But doesn’t it seem like we’ve gone to the other extreme in terms of valuing rest? My good friend John McGee has been known to say, “whenever I start to feel like throwing in the towel, I force myself to go to bed really early. Often times I wake up, recharged and realize my ‘discouragement’ was really just my lack of sleep!” And as scientific studies are increasingly showing us, giving yourself and your team the freedom to just relax, get an extra hour of sleep and intentionally neglect their inboxes can paradoxically be one of the best ways to boost productivity.
5. The family that laughs together…
Closely tied in with rest is the need to just have some FUN together. Ministry is hard, and if we don’t make time to just laugh, have fun, eat a big meal, go to a baseball game, etc., you’ll find it to be even harder. A fun, shared experience will help your team grow tighter, which will leave you ready to face the challenges of Kingdom work in lock-step.
Side note: Unquestionably one of the biggest hits of the Church Leaders Conference last year was people taking to the concept of farkling and creating some hilarious memories together. If you missed it, you’ll just have to come to CLC 2017 and see for yourself! (In the meantime, click here for a little taste.)
6. See God at work
On a recent trip to California, I was reminded that God is doing a much bigger work than He is in Dallas-Fort Worth alone. Which brings me to my last point: one of the biggest reasons we need to retreat is so that we don’t get laser-focused on our work, and lose sight of the broader picture—that Christ is accomplishing much bigger things outside of our tiny worlds. Joining others at a conference like the CLC is a great way to be reminded that what Paul told the Colossian church—that gospel is indeed bearing fruit and increasing in the whole world—is still true today? (Colossians 1:6)
So however you choose to get away, we are praying that you will soon. And we’d be thrilled if you considered using the 2017 Church Leaders Conference as that opportunity. Of all the people who joined us last year, the ones who brought their teams got the most from it.
What are your top reasons for taking a retreat and what are some of the ways you have found that work for you/your team?