7 Retreat Ideas for Smaller Churches

benchI recently wrote a post about the potential resurgence of local church youth retreats.  One benefit to attending a larger conference is that smaller church youth ministries have a chance to connect with others and have the program provided.

But even a smaller church can host a retreat for their students!  If you’re a small church youth ministry and you’re thinking about a retreat for your group, here are some ideas:

1) Retreat in a motel – Instead of trying to reserve a large retreat center, you can just reserve the rooms you need at a motel, use the pool, utilize the meeting room and breakfast would also be covered!

2)  Mission Retreat – You could center your retreat around a local mission. Stay in a church, serve in the mission during the day and schedule time for playing and debriefing in the evening

3) Retreat at your own church building – Plan a weekend of ministry with the students at your own church.  Sleep at church, do some ministry and service around the community, worship together and have a great, inexpensive time.

4) Connect with one or two other churches who also have smaller youth groups and join together for a retreat at a local retreat center.  Each youth leader can take a session during the weekend and be the speaker for the whole group.

5) Camping is a great opportunity for budget friendly, high impact community building retreats!  It can easily become a tradition.

6)  Guys or Girls – Have you thought about having a guys only retreat at your church?  Or a girls only?  You could even do those the same evening or weekend – utilizing homes for each group to meet.

7) Have a purpose – Every retreat should have a purpose. Maybe the purpose is to take the students to plan or prepare for the coming year.  It might be a retreat to learn about a specific aspect of ministry or life.  Any number of things can be the specific purpose and help attract students to attend and give them a sense of purpose in attending – even if you may have small numbers.


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