A yearly planning retreat can help your team align and break down ministry silos. It’s also a great opportunity to have fun together, invigorate your vision, and develop a communications plan.
We call this a “yearly” retreat in the sense that these meetings will help plan your church’s calendar year. However, depending on your church’s size and structure, this might be a meeting you hold twice a year or even quarterly. The main idea is to have a higher-level planning meeting with your entire team to cast vision, pray together, and plan for what’s happening at your church.
Here are four essential elements to run an effective team planning retreat:
Ask ministry leaders to share what God has laid on their hearts to see happen in your church in the upcoming year. This should come from your lead pastor, but also from your ministry leaders as they lead in their respective areas of the church. Brainstorm ideas that could bring the vision to life in various areas of the church and how to share that vision with your congregation and community.
Spend time in prayer for your staff team, church body, community and our world. You could do this by breaking into small groups to pray together, asking everyone to go to a place in your building to pray individually and then come together at the end to pray, or simply pray in a group as people feel lead.
Talk about big Sundays (Christmas, Easter, baptisms, etc.) and ministry-specific events like kids camps, small group and volunteer connection events, womens and mens ministry, and anything else that is a major event for different ministries in your church.
Designate whoever “owns” the church calendar to track dates, even if they are tentative. This will give you a sense of communication priorities for the year. Having this written down allows you to follow up with ministry leaders on their promotional needs as events draw near. This doesn’t need to cover every detail of the events and ministries, but rather give a high-level view of what will happen at your church in the coming year and allow you to develop a plan.
Get moving. If your meeting location is off site, find an activity that your team can do together. Things like laser tag, mini-golf, or go carts are all great ways to get people to let loose and have some fun. It’s always interesting to see the different sides of your teammates as you play together. Play a fun "get to know you" game with your staff to learn about one another beyond your team roles. And make sure there is food!\
Each team’s retreat should look a little different based on team culture and personalities but these four essentials will help you organize a productive retreat for your team, more effectively share your church’s vision, and prioritize communications throughout the year.
What does your team do at your planning retreats?