I have always loved going to retreats and church camps. I made the decision to follow Jesus at the age of 15 at a church camp. I’ve seen others who have been deeply impacted by these kinds of ministries through the years. They can be a valuable part of our faith development if we are willing to set some time aside in our schedule to get away. I wanted to spend a little time covering some ways that retreats could be valuable for your faith journey. Here are some reasons why we should go on retreats.
Jesus Did It: We see Jesus take time alone on a regular basis to pray. He often did so in solitude. Check out Mark 1:35, Luke 5:16, Matthew 14:23 for a couple of examples of this. Jesus often withdrew from the crowds to pray. If we are to be like Jesus, then one way we can be like Him is by retreating from the crowds to get alone to pray.
To Unplug: One of the trappings of modern technology is that it creates very little margin for silence and reflection. Technology can be a good and effective tool, but many of us are over-connected. We need that margin for silence and solitude if we want to grow in our faith. Retreats can give us the opportunity to get away from technology for a time so that we can rediscover the value of silence and solitude. We all know that technology is an issue. Regular retreats to unplug from technology can help combat this.
Building Community: One of the main reasons I believe retreats are valuable is that we are able to spend time with good friends and build stronger bonds of fellowship when we retreat together. They are a great way to get to know people we don’t know very well or don’t know at all. The shared experience of time away together can help facilitate a stronger bond of fellowship between people. Retreats can be a powerful tool for creating a space where relationships can be fostered and grown.
Learning and Loving God: The core reason to go on a retreat is to spend time with God. In so doing, we can learn more about his nature and character and love Him all the more for knowing Him more deeply. We can also learn about ourselves. we can discover hidden motivations and weaknesses that we didn’t know we had. In the process of learning more about our selves and God, we have the opportunity to have our faith molded into something stronger.
Questions for Reflection:
- When was the last time you took a few hours or a few days away from everything to be alone with God?
- What positive and negative experiences have you had with retreats?
- When might you find some time during this week to take a few hours and get alone with God?