While it may not replace the trust that must be built over time, a retreat offers a relaxed setting free of the time commitments that cause you to have to cut discussions short during a typical week.
Here is what you need to know about how a retreat can help your small group bond together.
What Is a Small Group Retreat?
A small group retreat is a chance to get away with your church or small group. It is a time to relax, fellowship together, and develop bonds in a way you would not otherwise be able to do in your typical daily lives.
How Can You Use a Retreat to Help a Small Group Bond Together?
If you’re a small group leader, you know how exciting it is when people really start to open up and how frustrating it can be when they don’t. During a retreat, you have an opportunity to spend time together without the pressures of normal daily life. This presents the chance for deeper conversations that help establish the trust that is key to getting your group to be more relaxed and open with one another.
Here are a few suggestions for making the most of your small group retreat:
1) Plan Ahead
You want to make sure you plan your retreat far enough in advance to guarantee everyone can save the date. Calendars fill up fast, especially if your group includes families with children. If you’re planning a fall retreat, for instance, you might need to set the date by early spring.
2) Reserve the Right Facility
The right retreat center, in the right area, will make all the difference for your small group retreat. Some of the characteristics of a great retreat center include:
- Natural Beauty: There is something about being out in nature that helps people relax and open up.
- Mountain Views: Big mountains like those in western North Carolina remind your small group that they worship a big God.
- Nice Accommodations: You want to find a retreat center with clean, comfortable accommodations. A cabin with a nice porch or deck is always a plus.
- Quality Facilities: You need a retreat center that has quality, functional facilities for your group activities.
- Commercial Kitchen: If multiple small groups will be retreating at the same time, a commercial kitchen is perfect for preparing your own meals and keeping your costs down.
- Team Building: Challenging each other to adventurous activities can help strengthen your bond. A retreat facility with add-on activities like a zipline, climbing tower, lake sports, high ropes course, etc., provides opportunities to engage in team-building for your small group.
- Campfire Circle: A campfire circle is the perfect place to help your small group open up.
- Proximity: You don’t want to waste your retreat time traveling to your retreat center. You want somewhere far enough away to feel like a retreat but close enough to maximize your time spent together.
Tekoa Retreats is located at Camp Tekoa in Hendersonville. Our retreat center has all of the above and more. We would love to talk to you about hosting your small group retreat.
3) Good Scheduling
You want to schedule enough activities and programming that people are not bored, but you need enough flexibility and unstructured downtime to facilitate conversions and bonding.
If there is one thing you should make sure you don’t skip, it’s the campfire. Lives are changed, and bonding happens around the campfire.
5) Open Leaders
In order to set the tone for your small group to be open and honest with one another, it must start with leadership. Prepare to share from your heart at your small group retreat. You might be surprised at how the dominos of sharing start to fall.
6) Decide About Kids
Before the retreat, you will need to decide together whether kids will be invited. Having young children may be fun, but it will certainly impact what you will be able to do together. To facilitate the maximum amount of potential bonding, you might ask that kids stay with their grandparents or have a sleepover at a friend’s during your small group retreat.
There is no better way to prepare for a great small group retreat than through prayer. Before your small group retreat, pray individually and together as a group.
Camp Tekoa offers all you need for your next retreat! We are within a short drive of Asheville, Charlotte, Greenville, Winston-Salem, and Raleigh.
With an extraordinary amount of adventures on-site and countless offsite possibilities, Camp Tekoa is the perfect spot for your group. For more information about Tekoa Retreats, reach out to our team. We would be happy to answer your questions and help you book your next small group retreat.