The 6 Benefits of Going On A Retreat

I have a true confession to make.  As an adult, I haven't always liked retreats.  In fact, as an adult ministry director, I thought retreats were good for kids.  Retreats equaled work.  And in the end, I always felt that adults would grow in their faith at a faster rate by being in consistent community week after week than by attending a weekend retreat. 

One snag in the agenda?  Adults want retreats.  I didn't get far into leading our adult ministry before women approached me about planning a retreat.  Could we do it?  For the first few years, my answer was always no.  I didn't have capacity to plan and execute.  

But a few years in and a small team of dedicated women convinced me otherwise.  I skeptically said yes while wondering if the retreat we were planning would really have an impact.  

In the midst of this first retreat, I was sicker than a dog.  Runny nose.  Coughing.  I couldn't sleep. To be honest, this gave me some great people watching time as I sat in the corner with my box of kleenex.  I noticed something spectacular that I never expected to see.  Lasting change in retreat participants.  Women changed before my very eyes.  Friendships blooming in ways I never thought possible. 

That was the year that God surprised me.  That was the year I changed my mind about retreats. 

This retreat and the many after had an amazing impact in the lives of the women who attended.  They learned together.  They processed together.  They built lasting relationships from being together.  They forced me to reconsider the benefits of getting away and unplugging. 

As I prepare for my own group coaching retreat (click here for more details), I realize that adults need a retreat too!  When you and I take a retreat we connect with God and reset our path for His direction. 

So, what are the benefits of going on a retreat? 

1. Unplugging

I don't know about you, but I am glued to technology.  Maybe it's my businesses in life coaching and copywriting, but I am on, what I like to call, the internets constantly.  Social media statuses.  Blog posting.  Researching. 

And to be quite honest, I can get a little obsessed without every noticing.  I know for myself, I need to unplug everyone once in a while.  I need to not be reachable.  I need to pause from being the person with a to-do list and work on being someone who has value for who they are.

2. Reconnecting

While this may go along with the unplugging concept, sometimes my days are filled with the next thing and the next meeting and food of course.  All of which gives me little time to stop and listen to my heart.  And sometimes, I've lost what my heart is saying over the loud messages that the world is giving.  Be a success.  Work harder.  Achieve more.   

Taking time to go on a retreat gives me the space and time I need to reconnect with the whispers of my heart.  When I get away from it all, it gives me time to hear the whispers of God's heart. 

3. Community Building

One of the things I saw all those years ago is still true on every retreat I go on.  There is something about getting away with other women for the weekend that builds deep and lasting relationships.  Whether it's the connection over sharing a meal together or processing what we're learning, women form life-changing relationships on retreats.  

I know what you're thinking... That sounds scary.  Yes.  Being open enough to build life-changing relationship can be scary.  But rewarding is on the other side of scary.  So at your next opportunity, take a deep breath and a brave step and sign up. 

4. Resetting

Under the category of resetting is renewing & refreshing & refilling.  Let's face it.  In the midst of our every day busy lives and the demands to get things done is a soul that needs some resetting.  We need to find a way to recharge and prepare for each season of our lives. 

Years ago, on a mission trip to Japan, my team leader said words that I often quote and have never forgotten.  Our life and ministry and who we are is an overflow of what's in our heart.  You and I need a refill so that our hearts are ready for gospel living. 

5. Getting Creative

I don't know about you, but the older I get the more creativity I need.  Not just in the literal sense, but figuratively.  As I approach my 50s, I realize I want to embrace being creative in the little things in life whether that's entertaining friends, building my business, or getting healthy with my life. 

Getting away and going on retreats increases your creative juices and let's them flow.  Maybe it has something to do with the renewing and refilling, but getting away for a while can help you get back to being creative in what needs to be done on the home front. 

6. Changing Your Life

The one thing I noticed those years ago is that retreats, just like so many other ministry events, are a tool that has the power to change your life.  As I prepare for my own life coaching retreat, I am praying for life change more than anything else. 

The beauty in group coaching (now that I've been doing it for a couple of years) is that what we learn is not just about knowledge in a I should do that sort of way.  Good retreats will help you learn tools and strategies your can take with you to continue to change and apply God's Word to your life.  From retreat activities to processing what you're learning along with God and groups of women, you leave a retreat different than when you arrived. 

And that makes all the difference! 

As I prepare for my own retreat, I'd love to hear your about your retreat experiences and what made your last retreat great.  Comment here or send me an e-mail.  I'd love to hear from you!