Finding the time and money to pull the staff offsite for an annual vision retreat challenges every leader.
The temptation to lay-up and schedule yet another week in the church conference room lulls us into yet another year of marginally effective visioning. In the name of stewardship or saving money, we are actually sacrificing the development of the team – as a team – in an exponentially effective environment. In reality, many church teams cannot afford to NOT get away for a short-term, focused season of team and vision development. With intentionality and planning, I believe every team can find some way to get away together.
Here are 14 reasons why your church staff retreats are better, and will accomplish more, offsite:
1. Focus drifts in the church conference room, you have 50% of the staff’s attention, at best, inside church walls
2. Relational roots grow deep on uncommon ground, late nights and early mornings are where teams are formed
3. Team building exercises are cheesy but effective when no one outside the team is around, just remember that adults hate the Trust Fall
4. Distance provides perspective, and getting away from the church building often right-sizes ministry challenges
5. Too much rhythm dulls our senses, forced breaks can be a healthy disruption to status quo ministry activity
6. There will always be a ministry fire burning, they will flare up before you leave and there will be plenty of firefighting to do when you get home
7. Investment in growing and being a team compounds exponentially, because retreats are not a dollar for dollar investment
8. Celebrating ministry wins offsite extends far beyond the moment, leverage memory of place to reinforce mission accomplishment
9. Most church conference rooms are boring, God’s creation work in nature resonates with the nature of the Creator in us
10. It’s healthy to schedule some unscheduled time together, meeting agendas are a means of an offsite rather than the ends onsite
11. Your team faces significant ministry challenges every day, fun times away can be life-giving and sustaining
12. Looking forward to a shared experience creates team synergy, as the weeks leading up to a retreat bring energy and focus
13. Stories from offsite meetings become a part of leadership cultural folklore, memories and laughter carry forward indefinitely
14. Putting effort and resources into planning time away with your team communicates their value
Here are three guidelines for selecting a location for an offsite vision retreat. As you are planning, think about…
…Someplace Beautiful. Unless you live in Houston TX you will not have far to drive to find the wonder of God’s creation.
…Somewhere Interesting. Find a place with a story and bring home as much inspiration from it as you can.
…Somewhat Away. Get enough separation from the everyday to nurture focus on the one-day of God’s preferred future.