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I'm delighted that our church council will go on a spiritual retreat this spring--thanks be to God!  I think this is a significant step for us as a leadership team as we week to play and pray together and dream God's dreams for our church.  However, we've never done this before, so I'm wondering if anyone has a program our outline that we could borrow as we design our own retreat plan.


I just re-read my above post.  I must have written it too late, as I see I made a few spelling mistakes, and I don't know how to correct them.  "Seek" not "week" in the second sentence.  "Or" instead of "our" in the final sentence.  I look forward to any input you may have regarding council spiritual retreats. 

Thank you,

Leon H. Johnston

Our council is working on the same idea, and we haven't done this either.  I'd like to piggyback on your request! 

Team building, fellowship, spiritual retreat--any suggestions?

Leon Johnston on February 15, 2013

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)


As far as the council spiritual retreat goes, at this point we are thinking about spending the Friday night connecting and worshipping together.  Then Saturday morning would probably be some leadership development with a guest teacher.  Then Saturday afternoon would be spend dreaming about the future, which would likely center around reviewing our mission statement and praying and discussing future direction.

What plans have you made so far?  I'd be glad to hear them!


Hey Leon,

Great question!  As I have been following you, I know you are a fan of Ruth Haley Barton and I can think of no one better for crafting the spiritual aspects of a Council Retreat.  As for the visioning/dreaming session, I have stolen MOST of my good ideas from Lis Van Harten in the CRC's Sustaining Congregational Excellence office.  I would e-mail or call her for suggestions.  

In addition, the only thing I would add to your plans is to leave time on Friday night to LAUGH together.  Worship, yes.  But also play some games.  Enjoy each other.  One of the best books on Council health/leadership I ever read said an instant barometer of the health of the group is how frequently laughter is shared together in meetings. I've always appreciated & lived by that advice.

Blessings, brother!

Leon Johnston on February 22, 2013

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Hi Meg,

Thank you for the suggestions.  Great idea to consult with Lis VH and to explore resources from Ruth Haley Barton.  And I also agree with you about the need to play together.  In fact, we're planning on having some fun on the opening night, and then probably ending the evening with worship or at least Scripture and prayer.  We've also invited our classis pastor-church relations consultant to lead us in a couple of seminars/workshops on Saturday morning (leadership development).  And then we plan to review our mission statement and begin to review our effectiveness (visioning).  I'm really looking forward to this spiritual retreat!

God bless you, sister!  Have a blessed season of Lent.


Hey Meg,

Good to see a familiar name here.  I was wondering what book you are talking about for council health or leadership.  I would love to read that and get some help from it.


Craig Van Hill

Meg Jenista on February 20, 2013

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)


I've lent my copy to chair of council but I'm fairly sure this is it.  

Also, Ruth Haley Barton's Pursuing God's Will Together, although that feels highly advanced to me. If your Council is just starting the conversation about SPIRITUAL leadership vis a vi managerial leadership, Barton's Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership might be a better place to start.

and blessings to YOU, brother.


Hi Leon,

The vision/dreaming session that Meg refers to is something that I do at our SCE Learning Events. If you want to know it involves, let me know.



Leon Johnston on February 26, 2013

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Hi Lis,

Thank you for offering support regarding the visioning process.  I'll keep this in mind as we plan the retreat.  Regardless of the specifics, I'm thankful my leaders are willing to go on a retreat at all.  I trust they will feel renewed and blessed--and want to go on retreat again in the next few years!

May the Lord continue to bless your life and ministry!


Leon Johnston on March 19, 2013

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Hi Lis,

I trust you're enjoying the season of Lent.  What a blessed time of the Christian Year.  I can feel the anticipation!

Say, would you be willing to pass on some ideas or the outline of the visioning process that you do with SCE?  I'm planning the details of our upcoming spiritual retreat this week, and I would value any guidance you would care to give in this regard.

Thank you kindly!


I'm pleased to report that after a few months of prayer, planning and deliberation, our council is going on a spiritual retreat this weekend--thanks be to God!  If anyone would like a copy of our retreat schedule/plan, please contact me and I'd be glad to pass it on for reference.  Happy Easter!

--Leon H. Johnston  ([email protected])




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