One way you can bring new life to your leadership is by taking them on a retreat. Getting them away from home and into God’s creation can do wonders. In order to lead in an effective manner, we need the undivided attention of those who follow us. It removes them from their families, their email, telephones, televisions and all the distractions that pull them away from the importance of what they do for God’s kingdom and the people they serve in their ministry.
I have taken groups of my leaders away on retreats for this very purpose. I remember on one occasion, I started our discussion time following the advice of Andy Stanley who wrote my favorite book on leadership, The Next Generation Leader: 5 Essentials for Those Who Will Shape the Future. In the book, Stanley says to focus on the things you’re good at. The less you do, the more you accomplish. You’re not very good at very many things, and you can only do what only you can do. So that is where our discussion started—we talked about what we do well as a small group ministry and why those things are going well. It was an encouraging discussion, and I think it started off our time together in the best way possible. The words we shared lifted our spirits and helped us focus on why we do what we do.
The second point of discussion was fresh ideas, and the third point was challenges we face. After talking a while about the things we are good at, I opened up these other two points at the same time, since talking about challenges can often lead to fresh ideas. We talked for 3 ½ hours straight! During our discussion, I saw an energy and passion for our group leaders and our ministry that I hadn’t seen in this group in over a year. It was nothing short of amazing.
To help our team relationally connect, we did an activity called The Hot Seat at every meal. Every time we sat down to eat, one person from the team would be chosen, and we could ask that person any question about themselves, and they had to answer. It was an incredible bonding experience for the group. Here are some questions we asked to those on the hot seat:
How did you become a Christian?
When was they last time you cried and why?
What was your most embarrassing moment?
What was the last thing you did that you regret?
After the question time is over, we then go around the table and say what we love about the person in the hot seat.
It is retreats like these that you will find laughter, tears, passion, and direction for your ministry and your leaders. Make sure you find time for something like this every year, and your ministry will thrive!