Our men’s retreat has been one of the highlights of the year. It’s a time for men to get away, enjoy nature, connect with God, and hang out with other guys.
Each year, we feel like we learn something new and we are definitely growing as we go along. But here are are some tips that will hopefully help you as you plan and implement your next men’s retreat.
FIND A GREAT RETREAT SPEAKER
I know that this is a no brainer but I had to put this in. We’ve had the privilege of having some amazing guest speakers at our retreat. At our first men’s retreat several years ago, we had 3 of our pastors speak from our church. The subsequent years, we invited speakers who were either highly recommended by a friend or someone we knew about. Both speakers gave messages that really impacted the men. I know it can be difficult for some churches, whether it’s your remote location or limited budget, to invite great speakers. However, even with your limitations, do your best in seeking out speakers who have the experience, passion and gifting to speak into the lives of men. I know speakers who are willing to come for any honorarium just because they want to be faithful stewards to smaller ministries.
EMPOWER YOUR TEAM
You don’t need to plan and execute a retreat on your own. I’m thankful for our team that consists of mostly our volunteers. They help with the AV, programming, worship, registration, games, and so much more. Delegating responsibilities to your team members will not only help you gain some sanity but it will allow them to have more ownership.
MAKE IT FUN
A men’s retreat doesn’t have to feel like you’re away for a monastic weekend. Yes, there are times when we need to be serious but there should be times for some serious fun. We are very intentional about creating an environment where there will be much laughter and manly silliness. Through our games, activities and videos we show, we want to give permission for men to let down their guards and be free to laugh and smile. So don’t be a killjoy at your next retreat, but integrate fun into your retreat.
CARVE OUT TIME FOR HONEST SHARING
You can have a great speaker at the retreat that inspires and personally convicts the men. But there’s nothing like carving out a space and time for a group of guys to get together for some open and honest sharing. For our retreat, we grouped the men into different small groups and had a designated leader who could facilitate the discussions. After our main sessions, we asked the men to get together for around 30 minutes and just discuss one thing that resonated from the talk and one thing that they could practically apply in their lives. We found that it’s better to make the questions simple and applicable rather than have a deep theological discussion. It’s a time to share from our hearts with other men who could come alongside us in our faith journey. Many men have shared how this discussion time allowed them to confess their sins, create accountability, and to understand that we are not alone in our struggles.
CARVE OUT TIME FOR PERSONAL REFLECTION
We as men live busy lives at a frenetic pace. Some of us just don’t know how to pause and shut down our brains. We live in a culture where things are quick and instantaneous. We get impatient waiting in line at the grocery store or for our food to be microwaved. With all this noise and distraction that surrounds us, how can we be still and hear the voice of God? How can we make sense of our lives and assess how we are doing spiritually, emotionally, and relationally? A retreat can be a time for us to remove these distractions and focus on what really matters in life. We provide a time for the men to get away, read the Bible, pray, nap, enjoy nature or do whatever to be in the silence and reflect. Sometimes, we offer a one sheet devotional with a few questions as a guide. This time of deep personal reflection can be a rich time for the men.
PRAY FOR THE MEN
We really believe that nothing of real substance can come without prayer. All of our planning and strategies are empty without the Holy Spirit guiding and leading us. When it comes to a men’s retreat, the most important thing we can do as leaders is to pray for all the men in our church. We all have busy lives with family, work and hobbies. To get away on a retreat for a couple of days, sleeping in a cabin with other guys you may not even know takes a step of faith and courage. It’s also a financial sacrifice you need to make as well. Even though we as leaders know the impact this time can be in the lives of men, some guys would much rather be in the golf course or watching a football game in the comforts of their home. That’s why in some churches, you will see many women wanting to go to a women’s retreat or a student camp but when it comes to a men’s retreat, it’s like pulling teeth. Pray for the men in your church to have a desire to go and for the men signed up to be impacted through this retreat.
Promo Postcard (PDF)
Sample Programming Schedule (Word)
Trivia Questions For Icebreaker (Keynote)
Retreat Booklet (PDF)