Purpose: To deepen relationships and prepare our team to effectively minister.
Yesterday I shared about two team retreats I’ve been on in the past few months on which I was a participant. Today i want to share two other retreats I was on, which I was leading.
Adult Volunteer Leadership Team
In early September (I wish we could have done it earlier) we took our student ministries volunteers away for 24 hours to regroup after the summer and gear up for the new school year. We loaded up at 6pm (so our leaders didn’t have to miss work on Friday), drove about 45-minutes, then stopped for dinner. We went to a fun burger joint called American Roadside. After dinner we drove out to Montauk at the end of the south fork of Long Island. We got settled into our rooms, then gathered together for a brief time of sharing followed by board games until almost 2am. There was a lot of laughing happening, especially when one of our volunteers cracked open the game Pretty Princesses.
The next morning, after breakfast, we had a devotional and a time of sharing. After that we had a time of getting into small groups to pray for each other. This time of sharing and praying for each other was much-needed by our team as was evidenced by the fact that we went quite a bit longer than we had planned. This could be seen as a negative thing, as it took away from the time that I was hoping to do some leadership training, but I chose to let it go because one of the things I have really come to value through the years is the importance of having good, strong relationships between team members. More than having skills to work with students, our team needs to model loving relationships. Jesus understood this. We never really read of Him giving his disciples leadership principles (although we can certainly mine them from His teachings). What He did do was spend time just living life with His disciples, and He told them that people would know they were on His team “if they have love for one another” (John 13:35).
After a short break was did a fun, interactive, challenging activity which required everyone to work to ether. Once they accomplished the task, we debriefed the teamwork exercise and talked about how it related to working together in youth ministry. Before checking out of our lodging, we talked through the student ministry calendar for the new school year. We then had a very nice lunch together and visited the bluffs and the Montauk lighthouse before driving home.
Student Leadership Team
In October we went away for 24 hours with our 2013-2014 student leaders. Another time I will tell you about how I handled our retreat speaker having her flight canceled on the day of the retreat, but for now, I’ll just share what we did on the retreat.
Friday night followed the same pattern as above. On Saturday morning we had devotions followed by two interactive training sessions. We then had each one of the student leader come into the center of the circle one at a time, and we prayed over them. We prayed for them to respond to God and be the leaders He’s called them to be this year. After cleaning and packing up, we drove into town, had lunch together, and visited the bluffs and the Montauk lighthouse before driving home.
As a leader of leaders I love these kinds of retreats. Creating opportunities to get away together gives us a chance to get to know one another better. The car rides are ideal for conversations and relationship-building. I actually prefer to get away for longer than just 24 hours for leadership team retreats (and will continue to work towards that end), but my experience has been that once we move to multiple nights away our attendance decreases as the demands of finding house-sitters, baby-sitters, pet-sitters, etc. increases – regardless of how far in advance the retreats are announced.