Wednesday, January 03, 2007

FAQ: Practically speaking, what does a typical Leadership Retreat look like?

In January of each year, we take our leaders to an Annual Leadership Retreat at a campground run by our denomination that offers hotel-style housing. The entire retreat revolves around a theme that we want our leaders to embrace and model throughout the upcoming year. We begin to leak out secrets about the theme on around Thanksgiving. Here are some examples:

2005: Being the Team
2006: Journey: Expect the Unexpected
2007: Some Assembly Required

A tremendous amount of time, energy, and creativity goes into the planning and execution of the retreat. The NCC zone leader team masterminds the themes and creative elements, the NCC media team produces the event, and the pastoral team works together to present a cohesive package of content. Each participant receives a gift bag filled with practical items (like bottled water and snacks) and themed items (like t-shirts, hats, toys, etc). There’s always a big team competition on Friday night. And we always try to throw in some surprise elements.

In 2006, our theme was Journey: Expect the Unexpected. Each participant received a t-shirt, a water bottle, and a gift bag containing goodies that strategically tied into the retreat theme. When our leaders walked out of their rooms on Saturday morning, they found at their door a newspaper packed with articles about journeys. For our session notes and retreat information, we designed a field manual inspired by National Geographic’s Traveler magazine. All of our teaching topics revolved around the journey metaphor and items that are helpful along the way. There were clips from "journey movies" playing before and after sessions (Indiana Jones, Lord of the Rings, etc). Some of the sessions included:

Compass: Navigating the Way Ahead
Map: Charting a Course for Discipleship
Flashlight: Lighting the Way Ahead Through Transformational Leadership

These sessions focused on our typical retreat themes of leading yourself well, creating community, making disciples, and multiplying yourself, but they were packaged in creative thematic ways to help our leaders understand and remember them.

In 2007, our theme will be Some Assembly Required. I can’t give away any details yet because we are keeping our leaders in the dark, but I’ll be sure to post about it at the end of January. The schedule will look like this:

Friday, January 28, 2007
7:00 pm Registration opns
8:00 pm Worship
9:00 pm Session 1: Living Stones
10:00 pm Team games in the gym

Saturday, January 29, 2007
8:00 am Breakfast
9:00 am Session 2: NCC Blueprint (Pastor Mark)
10:45 am Break
11:00 am Session 3: Detail Drawings
12:30 pm Lunch
2:00 pm Breakout A (Ministry and Zone meetings)
3:00 pm Breakout B (Ministry and small group electives)
4:00 pm Breakout C (Ministry and small group electives)
5:00 pm Session 4: Commissioning
6:00 pm Retreat ends


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