College ministry retreats can look very different depending on varying factors. However, successful retreats typically have a few common denominators. College ministry retreats often involve a group of people—large or small—retreating to a location for the purpose of relaxation, rejuvenation, and connection.
If you are looking to build community within your college ministry, provide a place for spiritual growth and a getaway from the stressors of life, and just help those in your ministry refocus on the Lord through prayer, worship, and service, while having a fun time, there are a few elements you need to focus on in your planning.
Five Ideas for a College Ministry Retreat
1. A Spiritual Theme
Every amazing college ministry retreat has a theme to help keep the students focused. You will want to think about what your goals are for the group. What is the purpose of the retreat? What do you want them to walk away with once the retreat is over? Once you have your goal or main purpose of the retreat, you can move to determine your theme.
A good theme may have a central scripture verse or set of verses. Your theme may include a general idea, Biblical practice, book study, or spiritual value or promise. There are many options when deciding on your theme. The main thing to remember when choosing your theme is to make sure it supports your purpose for the retreat.
Prayer is a crucial element in having a successful college ministry retreat. Prayer should be involved in your planning stages as well as during the retreat and even after the retreat.
You should pray individually. You should plan for your planning team to pray corporately and individually. And you should encourage your students from the college ministry to pray individually.
You can also plan on having individual prayer time, small group prayer time, and large group prayer time during the retreat. Prayer brings a bond and vulnerability to a group that no other spiritual discipline can provide. If you are unsure of the direction the students will take, you can offer prompts to direct the course of the prayers. This also is a way to incorporate your theme.
Worship is another spiritual element every successful college ministry retreat has. Worship allows the students and leaders to refocus on the Lord and their relationship with Him.
Worship is a great way to reconnect to God and allow God to speak to your heart. Worship is also another means for the students to be vulnerable before one another, which helps bond them together.
There are several different types of worship you can include in your retreat. People worship and express their worship in various ways, so it would be wise to include multiple avenues of worship. Here are a few types to consider:
- Music: This could include just an acoustic guitar, keyboard, or a full band. The important elements to focus on are strong technique and true worship. You want to make sure your musicians love the Lord and are gifted, so the time of worship is not distracting due to being out of tune, off-timing, or off-key.
- Drama: Drama is a powerful tool for explaining and teaching Bible concepts in a way that everyone can grasp. Drama increases worshiper participation by appealing to senses other than hearing. With great effect, difficult themes can be treated delicately and occasionally, even in a hilarious way.
- Dance: Dance is another powerful element of worship that you can add to your worship service to appeal to multiple senses. Dance is a beautiful art form that can tell stories, express emotion, and connect to individuals in ways other worship forms can’t.
- Visual Art: Some of the most amazing times of worship are when a visual artist is illustrating a sermon or worship song through drawing or painting. Adding visual art to your worship service will add a visually stimulating element to your worship that helps the students remember what is discussed.
4. Service Opportunities
Scripture constantly reminds us to serve others. What a great element to add to your college ministry retreat to bring the group together and remind them that Jesus served, so He expects us to serve as well! And what a blessing comes from doing random acts of kindness as a group. Make sure you plan simple and fun service projects for your retreat to help build community.
5. Activities and Team-Building Opportunities
Activities and team-building opportunities are a great way to spruce up your retreat and build community. College students love to hang out and have outdoor adventures together. Here are just a few activities Camp Tekoa Retreats has to offer for your retreat:
- Zip Lines
- Bungo Ball
- High Ropes Course
- 70-Foot Giant Swing
- Bouldering Wall
- Low Elements Challenge Course
- Tree Climb
- Activity Field
- Lighted Outdoor Basketball Court
- 3 Acre Lake
- Canoes and Paddle Boats
- Rope Swing
- Nine-Hole Disc Golf Course
- Hiking Trails
Camp Tekoa Retreats
Camp Tekoa is the perfect setting for your college ministry retreat because it is situated in the stunning mountains of North Carolina. Our facilities can host groups of all sizes thanks to a variety of housing choices and indoor and outdoor meeting areas.
A multitude of on-site trails for different ability levels, an outdoor chapel, and a picturesque lake can all be found at Camp Tekoa Retreats. Participants in the retreat can take in God's creation and will have no trouble locating a peaceful place to rest and reflect and grow spiritually as an individual and as a community.
For more information about Camp Tekoa Retreats, its facilities, and its program offerings, or to book your next retreat, contact us or visit our website.