Let’s get straight to it: what difference does a retreat at a campground make versus a meeting at any other building or setting? Why do we promote getting away so much? What difference does it all make?
Those are all very valid questions. It is undeniable that churches, homes, and pretty much any other meeting space can do so much for people and small community groups.
Here is our Top 5 List of why camp matters:
Shifts Perspective: Getting away from your normal routines forces your brain to think and operate differently. We are creatures of habit. You probably come home and put your keys in a certain spot, sit in the same chair at the table, have a normal couch spot, and generally have routines that seem rather predictable - like the rest of us. Well, if you go somewhere where you can’t continue in the same routines, your brain clicks into a different gear. You’ll think about things in a new way, examine your life and choices with a fresh perspective, and treat relationships differently.
Ignites Renewal: We all need, and probably crave, a little break from the high tech, high speed, high demand culture we live it. This culture isn’t bad, by any means! But it can wear on our bodies, and very much so on our minds and spirits. Being outside literally breathes fresh air into our living. It helps us detox and regroup.
Builds Community: People bond during retreats. When groups of people are put into new and unknown situations they rely on each other in ways that our regular everyday lives don’t necessarily produce. Sharing a room with 7 other people is very different than being with only your immediate family! It’s no surprise that quality time is a major love language, and retreating with people provides a clear avenue for amazing quality time.
Concentrates Training: One of the unique opportunities groups have when they retreat is the chance to offer their tribe immersive teaching. Let’s say you come for a 48-hour retreat (Friday evening through Sunday afternoon), most groups would probably schedule 3-4 teaching times within that 48-hour block. If you usually have weekly meetings, a retreat can pack almost a months-worth of teaching into a short timeframe. Think of the benefits there, especially for topics that are a critical need in your community of believers.
Follows Biblical Examples: Jesus models the habit of retreating into nature, and the Old Testament commanded it for certain celebrations. Luke 5:16 tells us directly:
“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”
The Feast of Booths (or Tabernacles, described in Leviticus 23) commanded the Israelites to make temporary shelters to remember how God led them through the desert after the Exodus. In this we see God desiring His people to remember the path they’ve been on as a Nation. A Nation who grew in their faith through the years spent dwelling in simplified shelters, closer to nature, and dependant on God and each other. For today’s culture, I can think of no better parallel for this festival than retreating to the woods for a little more time is God’s creation.
Camping isn’t holy, we all know that. But what can be done while camping, well - that’s a different story. We get an amazing opportunity when we fast from our regular routines and go with God on a journey into the wild.
Today is the day to plan a retreat. Get your tribe, and come withdraw for a short time and let us know what we should add to our list.