Staff Retreat Ideas
Having a staff that works like a team is a true blessing. When there is a team more is completed in a more efficient manner. But more than that, when the staff is a team an environment is created that is more positive, enthusiastic, creative, support and fun. This is both a joy to the staff and a blessing to the congregation. There are many things that go into creating a team:
having a compatible group (Rick Warren commented that when he is thinking of hiring a person he doesn’t do it unless he can imagine taking a five hour car ride alone with that person), having a common vision,
being competent and committed to what they do,
and having experiences that build the team.
Here are some ideas for what I have done to build that team during staff retreats:
*Make time for laughter and play. We used part of our staff retreat time to play games. One year we adapted the “Who wants to be a Millionaire?” game to our setting complete with prizes for the staff like restaurant gift cards, extra vacation days, and more. Another time we filled balloon will slips of paper on which were written instructions. Some instructions allowed them to pick a prize while others said “try again”. The balloons were hidden around the building and they had to find them and pop them by sitting on them. There is something powerful in laughing and playing together. It builds memories, joys, and community.
*Make time for sharing the common vision for your work. While each staff person has a particular area of focus all of the staff’s efforts need to be moving in the same direction. Their methods will be adapted for the particular group they are focusing on, but the overall goal that they want to accomplish (teach particular values, instill particular spiritual disciplines, work on certain mission projects, etc) should connect with what everyone else is doing. This common vision helps staff members see the bigger picture, to identify their connecting point with each other, and to understand how each person’s efforts fits into the whole.
*Take time to pray for and with one another. Share each others lives and not just the workplace. Take more than a cursory interest in each other; in and out of the church. Intentionally lift up and seek God’s blessing for each other.
*Make time for each staff person to flesh out where they need to go in the next year to advance the vision. There needs to be time so that each person can make a plan that has both general goals and SMART Objectives (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timed). This could be done individually or as a group. Each staff member should leave the retreat with clarity about what he/she is going to work to accomplish in the coming months.
*Take time for worship. Celebrate how God has moved in your lives and situation. Ask for God’s leading in where you are to go. Open yourselves to the power the Spirit will bring as you follow God’s call. Confess your individual and group sins and let the Lord’s forgiveness heal and renew you. Share in Communion to strengthen, heal, focus, empower and celebrate Christ’s presence.
*Consider having a meal together. Eating together gives time to talk, share, and support each other. This could be used as a time for church members to show support and care for the staff by providing a nice meal.
Retreats can be fun, meaningful, memorable, uplifting, educational, spiritual, joyful, and a blessing. But that isn’t what typically happens and it won’t happen without intentionality.
To be honest, it is easy for me to focus on the business end of things and make retreats all “work”. However, there is so much more that a retreat can be when you open up the relational and celebratory aspects. It can make it about more than work. It can make it about building lives and advancing the Kingdom of God.
September 23, 2013