So now that we all have so much time in isolation of some sort, and since many have had to cancel their time of retreat at Rainbow Lodge, we thought it might be helpful for some if they had an intentional personal retreat guide to encourage and focus while "locked down". The link above is to a 14 day Christian spiritual retreat guide for this season of pandemic. You don't have to be alone to do it, or even do all of it, but many have already found it to be helpful.
The guide is also available as day-by-day links on this site: https://www.sentwell.org/isolation-to-invitation
Full disclosure, Jenny Walley, one of the co-authors, is the daughter of our Executive Director.
Groups that come to Rainbow Lodge are often made up of people who may be new. There are some fun, creative, non-threatening ways to encourage everyone to get to know each other. We found one icebreaker that could actually extend throughout a retreat. And if the actual "game" doesn't fit, you might find the questions to be of use in some other "challenge".
Check out the game here.
Or on Facebook.
One way to seal the memories of your retreat is to take and post pictures - something that has become extremely easy these days.
Some groups appoint a "picture person" to be the photographer for a retreat (a nice way to involve someone who might otherwise not engage). This person would be tasked to capture some of the essence of the retreat and capture snaps of as many of the attendees as possible.
What would you do with all those pictures? Consider:
*Create an "on-the-fly" slide show and display it at the start of each session. Add some cool music, and run it through Rainbow Lodge's media rack and you have a fun moment or two. Or, save all the pics up and end your retreat with a slideshow for fun.
*Upload the best to an album on Facebook (a personal page, or a church/organization page. Let us know and send us a link and we'll tell people about it on our page too.
*Bring a photo printer to the retreat and print fun pics to distribute to participants as memories.
What other picture ideas do you have? Feel free to comment!
As you plan your event at Rainbow Lodge it is always wise to keep the end in mind. It also helps to be very aware of the type of event you are planning. One thing that might help is understanding whether you are holding a retreat or a conference. There is a difference!
This article from Ministry Serving Ministry might be helpful.
Sometimes you just need a few good suggestions to spark a new idea. If you're leading a men's retreat for your church you might find these ideas for Manly Men's Retreat themes a source of inspiration. Thanks Christian Camp Pro.
By the way, we love men's retreats at the Lodge. Hoorah!
Taking a break from the routine stresses and distractions of life is refreshing – and one of the reasons retreats are so helpful. As you plan your retreat keep in mind that most people take at least 24 hours to unwind from the stress and activity of normal life. For many it takes at least that long to settle in to a comfortable relational place where connections and sharing might be deeper. If you plan only an overnight retreat you will likely miss an opportunity for participants to fully unwind and start to truly relax. (Of course it helps if you have a peaceful setting like that at Rainbow Lodge!).
It's difficult to build a sense of community on a one night outing. Time is needed playing, working, eating and studying together. Group dynamics really begin to develop after the second full day.
If you want a truly memorable retreat plan for at least 3 days and 2 nights as a minimum. It will make a difference.
Most of us have memories that are linked to music. It may be a 60's pop song or classic rock anthem. Maybe a silly song your family quotes back and forth. Young or old, there always seems to be something of a sound track behind the scenes of our lives. There is no denying that music can evoke powerful memories and help pave the way for new experiences and learning.
Why not capitalize on that at your retreat. The rise of MP3 players has made it quite easy to curate a collection of music that will be meaningful to your group that can be played in the background during meeting breaks, free times, and maybe even as sing-alongs.
You can plug your player, iPod, cell phone, etc. into the media rack at Rainbow Lodge and begin linking new memories. Might even be fun to have music of different generations. Pick just a few, put them on a loop, and let the connections begin.
Most churches seek to cover the costs of their retreats completely through participant fees, while realistically planning to assist those in their community who may not be able to afford to participate (with budgeted subsidies and scholarships). Remember that there are costs to your retreat that are above and beyond what the Lodge charges.
What are your costs? Some things to consider:
Many groups holding retreats at the Lodge greet their guests with a "Retreat Survival Kit" that might include ear plugs, bandaids, a snack, breath mints, a pen, note pad, maps, a "things to do" list.
Planning a retreat, whether it is a single day, a full weekend, or a week-long event, can be complicated. Here are some ideas to think about as you plan your retreat experience.