There is noting quite like getting together with your small group and getting away from the humdrum of the weekly routine. New relationships blossom and old ones deepen. Last summer about fifteen people from small group headed to the mountain sitting majestically on the edge of town and we spent seven hours praying, eating, laughing, sharing and singing. Each of us left that mountain top forever changed.
Here are some guidelines to creating a meaningful time together:
1. Pick a place in nature where you can be together part of the time and away from each other part of the time. In a park, near a lake, on a mountain, by a stream through some woods. It is nice to have a cabin in case of bad weather, but it is not critical.
2. Have everyone bring his or her own lunch, snacks and drinks. Especially if you are having a short retreat you don't want to waste time or energy preparing food.
3. Notebooks, pens or pencils and Bibles are essential.
4. Have a time schedule and stick to it as closely as possible. Time is valuable so you want to honor your word about starting and stopping on time.
5. Break your day down into sessions and give your people specific ideas about what to do. Here are the instructions for the four different sessions we had. Everyone found a place to be alone and spent 45-60 minutes on each.
Reflection One: Listen carefully.
Reflection Two: Recall and meditate on the promises of God.
Reflection Three: Pray for each person in our group by name. Ask God to give you a discerning heart for them. Write a word of encouragement to them.
Reflection Four: How might your epitaph read if you were to die this week? Write down. Now, what would you like it to say?
What changes do you need to make in your life? Confess to the Lord, and ...