If you are leading a church or ministry staff retreat, there are many things you could bring, but what should you bring?
Here’s a list to consider:
- Open Bibles – I know this comes as a surprise, but I would really encourage you to spend more time in the inspired Book rather than dallying in inspiring books. Too many ministries are guided by a trendy book more than an enduring Bible.
- Principle-Based Book – If you decide to read a book before the retreat, make sure it is principle-based and not program-based. It is easy to read a book on another ministry’s methods and attempt to copy them into your context. I would recommend reading a book that improves leaders to work within the existing strategy just with better practices rather than a volume that upholds another’s strategy.
- Clear Agenda – Your staff will be grateful to have an actual agenda to guide them. It helps them prepare for the topics and keeps everyone on the same page. Know what the win is for the retreat.
- Digital Clock – While it can take a while to work through discussions as a staff, bring a clock by which you can manage your time better. Working with your agenda, provide yourself 90 minutes for a certain topic and stick to it. There are other things you must get to, so don’t linger on one thing forever.
- Dry Erase Board – You need a canvas with which to dream. Make sure you have something to jot down ideas so that you can keep everyone focused.
- Dry Erase Calendar – If you are planning for the coming year, get a calendar so that you can start writing out potential events for the coming year to ensure you aren’t too busy at a certain time. It also helps you think through the coming holidays and such.
- Rabbit Trail List – Take a poster board to serve as the rabbit trail list. When someone drifts to another issue rather than what is the topic at hand, put that item down on the list. I am sure it is important, but it is not urgent. Don’t allow a stray idea to hijack what must be addressed. Write it down, promise to get to it at a later date, and get back to the topic at hand.
- Realistic Margin – You need some time to hang out together. It doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. Just make sure you have some time to strengthen staff bonds.
- Clear Takeaways – Don’t make your staff invest their time and leave them unsure of what happened. The end of a staff retreat should provide clear and realistic expectations for each person. If it is everybody’s responsibility, it is nobody’s responsibility.
- Intentional Prayer – As you plan, pray and ask God to direct you to areas you haven’t even thought of yet. There are so many opportunities for God to use you in the coming months. Plead with him for wisdom and discernment.
The list above is 10 things to bring to your next ministry staff retreat. Add or subtract from the list, but do something to prepare for how God is leading your staff.
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.