Suggestions for a Personal Retreat Day

I mentioned in an earlier post about taking a day to meet with the Lord about your role and responsibilities in ministry. Let me try to give you some help – following are some suggestions from different sources, including my own experience.

There is nothing mystical about this day really. It is a chance to spend time with the Lord and re-align yourself with the proper priorities in your life.

Time – plan at least six to eight hours of uninterrupted time, no less than six would be my recommendation.

Location – not at the office and not at home!  Find a place that is relaxing and comfortable for you.  It is great if it is somewhere that you can take a break for a walk or a run to help clear your head.  Pick somewhere you can “spread out”.

What to take – Bible, books, paper, pens, bright markers, music, snacks, plenty of water, coffee for us coffee drinkers!, your calendar, and any other things that will stimulate your thinking.  Flip charts or large sheets of drawing paper are great tools for creative thinking.

What to wear – sloppy and comfortable clothes.

Computer – notice I did not include a computer or cell phone in the list above!  However, some people “think” better on a computer and there is actually some good brainstorming software available that is good.  The key is – DO NOT connect to the Internet or to e-mail.  For this to work, you have to be unplugged!!  Now for some of us, this is the greatest challenge, but it is important.

How often do you do this? – once a month as a minimum.

How to structure your day – following is just a suggested flow to get you started.  After you have done this a time or two you will discover what works best for you.

1. Prayer – spend some time at first quieting your heart before the Lord and asking Him to speak to you during this day.
2. Scripture – Spend a sizable amount of time reading and meditating on fairly large portions of Scripture.  See how the Lord is speaking to you through this time and how He is preparing you for the rest of the day.
3. Prayer – spend some more time in prayer reflecting on what the Lord has shown you through your time of meditation on the Scriptures.
4. Review – spend some time reviewing the previous month.  What have you learned over the past month?  How has the Lord been working in your life?  Your family’s life? Your ministry?  Spend some time reviewing your short-term and long-term goals for all areas of your life.  In our ministry we have a “Spiritual Vitality” assessment tool that is a great help. Also, the website, has some great tools that will help in this process.
5. Plan – spend time planning and scheduling your next month in order of your priorities! First – your time with the Lord, Second – time with your spouse, Third – time with your kids, and Finally – your ministry schedule.  Remember to schedule next month’s personal retreat day!  Also, modify your short-term and long-term goals as needed.  Reset your priorities.  The bottom line is to enter into the next month with as much clarity as possible.
6. Read – sometime during the day, spend some time reading chapters of a book or books that will help reorient your heart on prayer.
7. Pray – now spend some time with the Lord in prayer seeking His heart.
8. Share – plan on sharing the results of your day with your spouse and with an accountability so that they will be praying for you and holding you accountable to the goals and decisions you established.

Note: remember that this IS NOT a catch up day or a vacation day.  As  a leader in ministry, it could very well be one of the most important days of the month for you and for those that you lead.

What I listed above is just some suggestions to stimulate your thinking – you will need to experiment to see what works best for you.  The bottom line – just do it!!



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