Insights and thoughts on the world of student ministry, multi-site, and the potential to be great...again...too soon?

How Do You Do Retreats?


While sitting in a meeting on a Monday at the tail end of the month of April a thought popped into my head, "This might be a good blog post." The meeting was focused on our upcoming Fall Retreat. That's right, the sweet spot of ministry when you're planning the Fall Retreat for next school year and it's not even summer yet.

One of the topics at hand for the meeting was dividing up roles and responsibilities for our student ministry from across the campuses. Thus the focus and purpose of this blog post, to share how we as a team plan & pull-off our student ministry retreats.


For the past 11 years we have been running our own retreats.  During that time we have learned a lot and a lot of what God has taught & revealed to us along the way has brought us to how we approach our high school only Fall Retreat (one weekend) and our middle school only Winter Experience (two weekends).

One of the aspects of retreat planning that has caused for great success has been dividing up specific roles and responsibilities to individual staff members or key, high capacity volunteers. Some of the wins in doing so have been;  alleviating confusion by providing clear roles for the entire team, capitalizing on the strengths of the individuals that make up our team, giving ownership to individuals thus creating greater ownership among the team, sharing the burden of responsibility thus allowing more to get done with a high level of excellence.

One of the other benefits we've seen rise up is a stronger leadership pipeline.  We don't look to hand-cuff our staff to a particular role yet we do place them in a position that utilizes their greatest strength.  This may sound contradictory so let me elaborate quickly.  One of our guys, Jon, is an amazing builder and for 4 out of the last 5 retreats he has led our stage build. Jon is not hand-cuffed with just doing stage build as he has also been one of the session speakers for several of those retreats among other roles & responsibilities as well. 

Throughout the years though as other guys have come on staff or we've had particular interns or high capacity volunteers join us, we've seen looked to pair them with one of our core staff members who are gifted a similar way so that we can replicate ourselves, grow our team, and get more done with a higher level of excellence. The benefits of moving towards this approach are countless and I believe they are able to replicated in some shape or form. We use this approach for every one of our major all-campus events, local mission trip, and as mentioned before, all of our retreats.

You can click anywhere on this line to check out and download our Roles and Responsibilities documentThis particular one is from 2017's middle school (Oasis) Winter Experience.  Feel free to edit & use this in your context and to send any questions my way about retreat planning!

And to catch a glimpse of one of our retreats check out this video from our most recent winter retreat!!