Editor’s note: Today, we continue the series titled: Ask Karen. CTA’s volunteer expert, Karen Kogler, will answer one of the most pressing volunteer-related questions facing church leaders in 2017. If you have a question you’d like to ask Karen, just post it in the comments section!

Question: I am thinking about hosting a spring retreat for my church’s volunteers. Do you think it’s worth it?

Answer:  Is a retreat worthwhile? Jesus certainly thought so! Amidst a busy ministry schedule, the disciples and Jesus had no time to rest or even eat. Jesus’ solution was a retreat:

Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” (Mark 6:31 NLT).

Who better to take on a retreat than your volunteers? They’ve made time in their busy schedules to volunteer and they could use the rest. They’re core workers for your church’s ministry and they are worth the investment.

Keep in mind, a retreat offers more than just rest. It’s a time to recharge volunteers’ batteries by renewing their vision, communicating strategies, building unity, and strengthening relationships.  It can be as simple as the Sunday school staff meeting at a local restaurant for a fellowship meal and vision-casting for the upcoming year, or as comprehensive as a weekend at a retreat center.

There’s also great value in offering retreats on a regular basis. It’s an ongoing statement of the high value you place on volunteers. Each retreat builds on the foundation of previous retreats. Plus, more people have an opportunity to attend if you hold events on multiple dates.

Make sure that each retreat is well planned and executed. Be sure the retreat is worthwhile and communicate the value of the retreat in your publicity.

  • Consider the guest list. Do you invite key leaders or all volunteers? The more variety in the group, the more the content will need to be applicable to both men and women and to people of all generations.
  • Have a clear purpose. Is it for training? Appreciation? Casting of a new vision or building on an existing vision? Introduction of upcoming changes? Individual spiritual growth? Leadership development? A retreat can have more than one of these elements, but don’t try to cram too much into one retreat. You want them to go home recharged, not drained.
  • Have good presenters, people who can offer worthwhile content in a way that keeps people engaged.
  • Even when the event is for volunteers, it’s good to involve volunteers to use their gifts in event planning, hospitality, organization, and even speaking as you plan the retreat.
  • Above all, be Christ-centered and Gospel-focused. That’s the most refreshing, recharging tool in our toolbox!

Did you know that CTA offers retreat planning guides, gifts, and content? Some of the resources are FREE! Check it out today!

Do you have a question for Karen? Post it in the comments section and you may see it in a future edition of “Ask Karen.”


You are welcome to copy this article for one-time use when you include this credit line and receive no monetary benefit from it: © 2017 CTA, Inc. Used with permission.

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