Planning a Faith Based Travel Retreat
Retreat is a term defined as the act or process of withdrawing either as a group or individual for prayer, meditation or study. Christian retreats, simply put, are a definite time spent away from one’s everyday life to reconnect in prayer with God.
Today’s retreat consists of additional elements, like fun, fellowship and relaxation, and it can be an easy entry into a faith travel ministry. Target certain niches within your organization, like women’s groups, youth groups, singles or widows or even married couples. Then take a few steps to help plan a successful retreat.
Planning a Theme
For this, you need to know your audience. Consider what you want them to experience or learn while on the trip. For youth groups, look to see if you can offer educational credits for the retreat.
Make sure you don’t load your time with serious study if you are planning a light-hearted theme. Know how much fun, relaxation and games you want to balance into the retreat, while still having the attendees leave with the feeling of fulfillment.
Budgeting your Retreat
Cost is a big factor in how many people sign up for the retreat. As you plan the financial part of the trip, consider who will come at the complimentary level. Remember the pastor is usually free and has their travel expenses paid for.
An outside speaker will have a fee and travel expenses need to be included as well. A workbook or textbook may be needed for the trip, and needs to be calculated into the final cost too.
Location of the Retreat
Locations can include churches, hotels and retreat facilities however it can be nice to go outside these go-to locations, so look around and get creative if you can. Allow the staff accommodations to complete their work and give the members a break from responsibility in order to focus on the retreat’s purpose.
For hotels and retreat centers, check that all locations have a meal service on site. Asking attendees to find meals for themselves may cause scheduling problems, higher costs and they may get sidetracked on other things and miss sessions.
Retreat centers will have breakout and general session rooms, but when dealing with hotels, this may need to be part of your negotiations. These rooms may be free with a large block of sleeping rooms, but you may not receive them if you don’t ask in advance.
Booking a Retreat Speaker
A speaker from within the organization or an outside paid speaker can be the single most important aspect you plan. A dynamic speaker will keep members excited and motivated to attend all sessions, and leave them renewed and willing to share the “Good News” with others.
If you’re looking for recommendations of speakers, look to your colleagues for suggestions. There are a number of speakers’ bureaus and associations that represent qualified professionals for your type of event. Also look to the web for great ideas as well.
A speaker’s fee is discussed upfront, and you will need to pay a deposit to hold the date. The speaker can be a strong partner for first time retreat planners and may have a data base of followers that want to know when they will be speaking next, resulting in a higher attendance for your event.
You may be asking yourself the question, who should you invite? Many organizations only include members from their own community, but others use the retreat as an outreach to others with similar interests and faith.
Retreat location can influence the decision of prospects, so keep it in mind. Families may come to the retreat as part of their vacation plans. Many lodging locations will offer special rates for those who ant to extend their stay late or come early.
Retreats can be the first step to longer trips offered by your travel ministry. A successful weekend retreat can be the best promotion in recruiting a group for future travel plans.
For additional help planning a faith based retreat, sign up for our e-newsletter at Insite.ReligiousTravelDirectory.com today!