LeadingSmart

Practical Stuff for Church Leaders

Leadership Retreats

I received an email yesterday from a pastor in Ohio. He asked a good question about planning a time away with leaders:

"We have a leadership team retreat scheduled soon. Can you give me some ideas about how we can strategically use this time to build relationships with each other, but also know how to begin asking questions about vision, mission and values?"

In no particular order, here are my...

"Thoughts on Leadership Retreats"

  • Plan an agenda.
  • Don't be too tied to your agenda.
  • Leave room for fun.
  • On some retreats, invite the spouses to come along.
  • Most people underestimate the value of leadership retreats.
  • Get it on the calendar way early.
  • Don't wait until you feel a need for a retreat--by that time it is too late.
  • Don't discuss micro issues.
  • Focus on macro issues.
  • Make sure you are having fun.
  • Ask big questions to get people thinking and talking.
  • Bring a Post-It easel pad. Use them up and stick them around the room for reference.
  • Eat lots of meals together.
  • If possible, stay together. For example, rather than individual hotel rooms, rent a house or stay in a lodge together.
  • Pray together.
  • Are we having fun yet?
  • Consider bringing someone in from the outside to help facilitate conversation.
  • When reflecting on big issues, like "what is our mission?", start by having everyone take a stab at it alone. Then come together, compare notes, and figure out what you agree on and what needs lots of conversation.
  • When initiating change, make an APA list. Put three columns on the board. On the left column write everything you want to AVOID when you make this change. In the middle column, write everything you want to PRESERVE. And in the third column, write everything you want to ACHIEVE through this change.
  • Agree on outcomes.
  • Program in down time and social time. And don't feel guilty about spending ministry money to make that happen. Your church needs a leadership team that loves doing life together! Those fun times on retreats will sustain you when you are back in the saddle and ministry is hard.
  • Summarize results. What did we decide? Where do we have consensus? What needs more discussion?
  • Make a "Who will do What by When?" list.

Oh, and one more thing...don't forget to have fun together.