Life gets busy. There are certain times of the year that feel busier than others. If we are not careful, busyness gradually becomes both an idol and a substitute for effectiveness. Instead of advancing the kingdom we can easily wind up managing the mayhem. Scheduling and taking a personal one-day retreat is tool to avoid this temptation. Here are four steps to consider when taking a one-day retreat.
Clarify your purpose. A retreat day is not a day just to get away. It is a day to hear from God. There are issues you are wrestling with, questions that need to be answered, and ministry decisions that need a clear strategy. Yet without a clear purpose a retreat day will be like every other day. Clarifying the retreat purpose and desired outcomes allows you to focus both your prayers and your activity.
Set it on the calendar. There will always be competitions for your time. Unless you proactively set a day to step away from your normal routine then it is unlikely that this event will happen. Without a day away, your life and work can shift from proactive ministry to reactive recovery. Set the day and take it.
Turn off your phone and your Internet access. You do not need to leave your study or office to take a retreat. Though that is helpful. What you do need to do is cut off the phone and the Internet. You need some distraction free time to pray, meditate on the word, think through your personal mission statement and God ordained roles.
You will be distracted by both correspondence that needs to be made and research that needs to be done. To help deal with these distractions keep two pieces of paper near by; the first piece is to write down people you need to correspond with through email, phone, or text. When the correspondence comes to mind write down their name, what you need to talk to them about and the appropriate method. The second piece is to write down areas of research you want to pursue when you have Internet again. Both of these steps help to clear you head of clutter allowing you to focus on the primary purpose of hearing from God.
Have someone hold you accountable. You need to have someone hold you accountable for your retreat day to clarify both what you are trying achieve and what you actually accomplished. Before you set in on your retreat day email your spouse, your deacon chairman, or a fellow pastor something like this;
Today I am taking a retreat/planning day. The following list is what I am going to be praying over and thinking through. Would you pray for me today as I look at these items? I will send you an email at the end of the day to update you on what was accomplished. Thank you.
Then attach the list of the issues you will be working on. What this does is both clarify for yourself what you are trying to get done, advocates for someone to pray for you during the day, and creates lines of accountability to what you accomplished.
A retreat day is not a play day. This is a day to hear from God. It is a day to examine where you are in relationship with Him and to reflect on your effectiveness as the chief Kingdom Advancement Officer in your home, your church and ministry. A retreat day used wisely can be a tool to keep on track for ministry effectiveness.