In the midst of busy ministry tasks, Jesus called the disciples to time away with Him. Why would the CEO of a budding company take His associates away at their most crucial season? It all had to do with what’s called the bottom line.
Look at Mark 6:30-46 to find six essentials for a getaway.
The Invitation. Mark 6:31
The apostles were frazzled. They came back from their assignments to report in to the Boss. They traveled, taught, and tended to the needy. Jesus invited them to step away from the tyranny of the urgent and regroup. How about the women in your sphere of influence? Are they carpooling moms, trying to make ends meet, or a part of the sandwich generation caring for aging parents and young children? How would they respond to a weekend of R and R? It would give them a chance to recharge their own batteries! Invite them on Facebook. Ask them in person. Print flyers and posters. Get the word out that you are planning something special with each one in mind. Advertising your event in multiple venues, repeatedly, spreads the message.
The Challenge. Mark 6:37
Jesus issued a challenge to His followers to be the vessels through which God could display His glory.
Could you cast a vision for a getaway that would rally women? Andy Stanley says, “A clear, focused vision actually allows us to experience ahead of time the emotions associated with our anticipated future” (Visioneering, p 9).
Casting a vision helps a leadership team to plan and implement your retreat. It also refers to the challenge you set before attendees. Will you call them to discipleship or dedication to unity? Will you challenge them to a deeper prayer life or a broader scope of servanthood? The vision of the retreat provides a foundation on which all else can be built.
Organization. Mark 6:38-40
I love how this passage illustrates that God is a God of order (1 Corinthians 14:33, 40)!
First, Jesus sent the disciples on a fact-finding mission (vv 38). Planning women’s retreats is no different…
- How many rooms will we need?
- How many can the location handle?
- What amenities are available?
- What will it cost?
- How much time do we want to schedule away?
- Who will be in charge of meal planning?
- Who will plan activities?
- Who will arrange transportation?
- Who will handle registration?
- Who will bring the chocolate?!
Gratitude. Mark 6:41
Jesus gave thanks for what had been given. What happens when we show gratitude? Not only does an attitude adjustment happen, but it shifts the focus to the One who wants us to “come away” with Him. Include opportunities for worship in your retreat. Schedule outings to experience the wonderful world He created. Affirm each woman for the contributions she makes to your small group. And recognize ways others have made the experience better for all.
The Meat. Mark 6:41-44
After Jesus had given thanks, He broke the loaves and fed the crowd abundantly. How will you break the Bread of Life for your women? Will it be through video, speakers, or study material? When women tell their stories, camaraderie is developed through shared struggles.Did you notice that Jesus didn’t distribute the loaves and fish to the people? He let His disciples experience the joy of the miracle. When you spread out responsibilities to your leadership team, more people take ownership of the event, and more people receive the blessing!
Prayer. Mark 6:46
And so, we come full circle and end at prayer. From the invitation to the benediction, Jesus modeled a lifestyle of prayer. He knew it all came back to the bottom line... relying on the One who would supply all their needs. Bathe your retreat in prayer. From conception to birth, let it be the Lord’s baby. He will show you how to nurture and raise it up to be an event that takes on a life of its own and brings praise to Him!