Friday, November 25, 2005

Retreat Thoughts

One of the comments in another post (a long time ago) asked me to jot down some thoughts about retreats. The exact quote from my post that started it was something like this, "And I'm beginning to be philosophically opposed to retreats..."

"We believe that an alternative, missional approach to being and doing church is best supported by an alternative approach to Christian spirituality. Too much Christendom spiritualy has been concerned with retreat and reflection. While we acknowledge the value of a rich interior life, as well as the value of solitude in interority, we believe that retreat and reflection should be embraced as part of a broader spirituality that values engagement and action. We need to find a renewed framework and basis for understanding everyday life and our actions as a vital source of experience of God." - The Shaping of Things to Come

I think that quote sums it up for me. A big caveat though - I think GCC runs the best student retreats around.
- There is always a small group component after the talks. Speakers are asked to set up small groups, so usually, after the talks, small group leaders have a set of questions that serve as follow up discussion points for their groups.
- Well thought out details. From registration to brochures to facilities, all the details are designed to make the weekend run as smooth as possible.
- A huge number of volunteers and their huge hearts. We have people that give up a weekend because they love students that much. They serve and serve and serve - they do whatever needs to get done.
- Retreats provide an incredible environment for students to get to know their leaders, small groups to really gel and for new kids to make connections. Even some kids meet Jesus.

Even with all that said, and the quote resonating with me, I think the concept of retreats is still something I need to think about some more. And - this doesn't at all mean that I won't encourage kids to go on our retreats, or even go myself to help out. One thing it does mean though - is that SPACE would probably not run a retreat in the traditional sense of 'retreat.' But you probably already knew that.

Love to hear your feedback.

Photo: The seniors of 2005-2006 on the Fall 2005 retreat (see I told you I wasn't THAT against them)

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