The word retreat has a lot of negative connotations. Normally it inspires images of armies or combatants fleeing a battle in order to save their lives and fight another day.
The Rebels on Hoth retreated before the Imperials and their massive AT-ATs.
The Fellowship retreated from Moria and its hordes of orcs.
The remaining humans retreated from their homes when the Cyclons attacked.
No one would really want to be a part of those retreats. They are full of defeat, anguish and despair – people simply holding on for one more day.
Thankfully defeat, anguish and despair were nowhere to be found this past weekend on our student ministry staff retreat.
Once a year (hopefully more in the future) we retreat to the mountains with the leaders in our student ministry. Our team expends a lot of energy throughout the year: investing in the lives of students, going on trips and eating lots of pizza. We relish the opportunity to retreat every so often, not to escape an enemy but to recharge our batteries and spend time with each other.
Instead of hanging out with a bunch of teenagers we actually got to hang out with each other. When we’re doing ministry together our attention is focused on the students. When we retreat, though, there aren’t any students and we get to build into our own friendships. Those friendships provide a solid foundation for our ministry.
I’ve been doing student ministry for a long time and it’s impossible to do it alone. All of my best seasons of ministry involve a great team and dear friends. This weekend was just another reminder that I am in another such season, doing ministry with a great team and dear friends.
And if that’s what retreat means, then I’ll be more than happy to fall back a little more often.
How has retreating benefitted you?