9 Reasons You’ve Not Scheduled that Staff Retreat

Imagine a day when every staff member and key lay leader wakes up with a clear and shared understanding of God’s better future for your church. A day when the question “What’s your vision, Pastor?” brings you energy and excitement and not dread or suspicion. Imagine a day when every ministry understands their role in fulfilling the entire church’s disciple-making call, not just their role in filling a ministry program.

How does this become a reality? Is it possible that a time away together as a staff and leadership team could lead to these God-sized dreams? It will never happen if you keep putting off scheduling a meaningful leadership retreat.

This type of pastoral procrastination often happens because:

  1. There has never been any measurable return on the investment of the time it will take.
  2. Leadership is living from Sunday to Sunday putting out fires and cannot focus together for long.
  3. Everyone typically makes great relational strides on retreats but achieves very little tactical progress.
  4. There have never been any resources budgeted for getting the team away to pray and plan.
  5. The team’s credibility is at stake if yet another plan gets created but not executed.
  6. It is easier to install yet another “silver bullet” program than it is to invest in a lasting process.
  7. Anyone on the team could lead a good enough retreat, but nobody has the time to facilitate an excellent one.
  8. It has always been easier to just rely on the Senior Pastor for all the answers.
  9. There is so much that needs to be done, it is hard to know where to even start.

If you’ve been putting off pulling away for a staff retreat one or more of the above reasons likely resonate with you. Waiting until you have enough time or money to get the team away just masks the reality that you won’t ever get around to it…

Until a significant enough crisis arrives and forces your hand.

> Read more from Bryan.


 

Connect with an Auxano Navigator to learn more about planning visionary staff retreat.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bryan Rose

As Lead Navigator for Auxano, Bryan Rose has a strong bias toward merging strategy and creativity within the vision of the local church and has had a diversity of experience in just about every ministry discipline over the last 12 years. With his experience as a multi-site strategist and campus pastor at a 3500 member multi-campus church in the Houston Metro area, Bryan has a passion to see “launch clarity” define the unique Great Commission call of developing church plants and campus, while at the same time serving established churches as they seek to clarify their individual ministry calling. Bryan has demonstrated achievement as a strategic thinker with a unique ability to infuse creativity into the visioning process while bringing a group of people to a deep sense of personal ownership and passion.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I am a senior citizen who has lived in many areas of the US, the farthest south being Virginia DC area. There are several church plants in the area--some failed, some doing well. One of the sadist failures was a plant in NW Washington near a large Presbyterian Church (I had been an elder in the church, so I knew the area) where changes in church doctrine was driving many away from the PCUSA churches. There were many mature Christians who lived in the area who were very willing to participate and give generously to the church. Its failure was a loss. The pastor and his wife lived in a VA suburb, wanted something that would appeal to their tastes, which included "praise music". There was a professional piano teacher and several people who had sung in choirs in the area. Their suggestions were completely ignored. Forget that there was joyous participation in singing hymns and silence by many for the praise music. The experienced church leaders that were attending were expected to seek the wisdom of the pastor who did not live in the area rather than have any role in leadership. There is another church plant in Northern Virginia that seems to be going the same way. My take: the pastors should get past their high-school and college days culture and get to know and appreciate the people of the community. Do not try to reproduce Intervarsity or Campus Crusade. Hymns are not a sin and "uneducated" (never graduated from college) should not be ignored as uninformed or stupid. People who have served in and/or live in the area are needed in leadership and not just to serve coffee and give. We all need to pray together and serve God in the community in which there is to be a plant. Glenna Hendricks
 
— Glenna Hendricks
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
 
— winston
 
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
 
— Russ Wright
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

5 Reasons Why Scheduling a Leadership Retreat This Year Will Increase Attendance This Year

When was the last time you experienced a dynamic 2-day offsite retreat that refreshed and refocused your team? This week is a great time to calendar, block, and schedule a retreat with your key leaders.

But some leaders might wonder, “Things are going so well, do we really need to go through the trouble of extra vision and planning days?” It’s a great question. I fundamentally believe that much greater progress can come with actionable reflection. Yet, I thought I would explore the connection between taking time to envision the future and increasing attendance in your church.

Here are five reasons why pausing to plan will result in more people being attracted to your church.

Reason #1: Communicating the retreat that you schedule this week indirectly sets a tone of expectation for ministry results in 2017. This kind of leadership move has a domino effect on the team and your leaders will be more likely to decide and act in ways that link to more people coming. For example, your student ministry director might think ahead on student events so that they are done faster and better. After all, the retreat is coming and his or her ministry will be discussed.

Reason #2: Creating harmony and flow among the leaders who implement ministry makes ministry environments more attractive. Years ago I learned that a perfectly executed worship service with frustrated or burned out leaders isn’t really as much of a “win” as I thought. “Who we are” as we do the ministry is just as important as “what we do” and people attending are adept as sensing the atmosphere.  Taking time to listen, relax and focus on the future will refresh a sense of community that others seeing that community from a distance can feel.

Reason #3: Focusing attention and resources on one area of impact will positively effect the whole system. The idea here is that your church needs one big goal at a time. Even if that goal is not directly aimed to increase attendance, it will likely have a positive impact. The church as the “body of Christ” is a set of systems. Strengthening one part, helps the whole.

Reason #4: Making room to diagnose problems and consider alternative perspectives will create new ideas. Every organization gets stuck in ruts in how they operate. There are always ruts. The only question is, how are you identifying and tackling them? The best idea  for increasing attendance at your church may never come if you don’t create the time and space to birth it.

Reason #5: Resetting the vision is essential for inspiring greatness and creating energy. It’s easy to forget how monotonous ministry is on the front line. What are we ultimately supposed to be doing? Why do we do what we do? Where are we headed as a church? Your leaders ARE asking these questions whether you are aware of it or not. Why not involve them in helping see the future again? Increasing clarity creates energy to get more done and lifts the spirits of the people as they work. Do you think that increasing the energy and enthusiasm of your top 20 leaders will lead to increased attendance this year? You bet it will.

Sometimes having a facilitator for a 2-day retreat makes a huge difference. Our team at Auxano is ready to help you this year. We have a strong retreat agenda developed based on my latest book, God Dreams. Why not invite us in to help you?  Learn more.

> Read more from Will.

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| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Vision >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Will Mancini

Will Mancini

Will Mancini wants you and your ministry to experience the benefits of stunning, God-given clarity. As a pastor turned vision coach, Will has worked with an unprecedented variety of churches from growing megachurches and missional communities, to mainline revitalization and church plants. He is the founder of Auxano, creator of VisionRoom.com and the author of God Dreams and Church Unique.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I am a senior citizen who has lived in many areas of the US, the farthest south being Virginia DC area. There are several church plants in the area--some failed, some doing well. One of the sadist failures was a plant in NW Washington near a large Presbyterian Church (I had been an elder in the church, so I knew the area) where changes in church doctrine was driving many away from the PCUSA churches. There were many mature Christians who lived in the area who were very willing to participate and give generously to the church. Its failure was a loss. The pastor and his wife lived in a VA suburb, wanted something that would appeal to their tastes, which included "praise music". There was a professional piano teacher and several people who had sung in choirs in the area. Their suggestions were completely ignored. Forget that there was joyous participation in singing hymns and silence by many for the praise music. The experienced church leaders that were attending were expected to seek the wisdom of the pastor who did not live in the area rather than have any role in leadership. There is another church plant in Northern Virginia that seems to be going the same way. My take: the pastors should get past their high-school and college days culture and get to know and appreciate the people of the community. Do not try to reproduce Intervarsity or Campus Crusade. Hymns are not a sin and "uneducated" (never graduated from college) should not be ignored as uninformed or stupid. People who have served in and/or live in the area are needed in leadership and not just to serve coffee and give. We all need to pray together and serve God in the community in which there is to be a plant. Glenna Hendricks
 
— Glenna Hendricks
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
 
— winston
 
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
 
— Russ Wright
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

14 Compelling Reasons to Get Away with Your Team

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.

> Read more from Bryan.

Download PDF

Tags: , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Leadership >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bryan Rose

As Lead Navigator for Auxano, Bryan Rose has a strong bias toward merging strategy and creativity within the vision of the local church and has had a diversity of experience in just about every ministry discipline over the last 12 years. With his experience as a multi-site strategist and campus pastor at a 3500 member multi-campus church in the Houston Metro area, Bryan has a passion to see “launch clarity” define the unique Great Commission call of developing church plants and campus, while at the same time serving established churches as they seek to clarify their individual ministry calling. Bryan has demonstrated achievement as a strategic thinker with a unique ability to infuse creativity into the visioning process while bringing a group of people to a deep sense of personal ownership and passion.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I am a senior citizen who has lived in many areas of the US, the farthest south being Virginia DC area. There are several church plants in the area--some failed, some doing well. One of the sadist failures was a plant in NW Washington near a large Presbyterian Church (I had been an elder in the church, so I knew the area) where changes in church doctrine was driving many away from the PCUSA churches. There were many mature Christians who lived in the area who were very willing to participate and give generously to the church. Its failure was a loss. The pastor and his wife lived in a VA suburb, wanted something that would appeal to their tastes, which included "praise music". There was a professional piano teacher and several people who had sung in choirs in the area. Their suggestions were completely ignored. Forget that there was joyous participation in singing hymns and silence by many for the praise music. The experienced church leaders that were attending were expected to seek the wisdom of the pastor who did not live in the area rather than have any role in leadership. There is another church plant in Northern Virginia that seems to be going the same way. My take: the pastors should get past their high-school and college days culture and get to know and appreciate the people of the community. Do not try to reproduce Intervarsity or Campus Crusade. Hymns are not a sin and "uneducated" (never graduated from college) should not be ignored as uninformed or stupid. People who have served in and/or live in the area are needed in leadership and not just to serve coffee and give. We all need to pray together and serve God in the community in which there is to be a plant. Glenna Hendricks
 
— Glenna Hendricks
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
 
— winston
 
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
 
— Russ Wright
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.