What is a Retreat?
A retreat is a romantic term for setting aside time to think, plan, ponder, and bond in a remote setting. Retreats are useful for individuals as a way to evaluate their life’s direction. Retreats are also useful for groups, and that is where Mt. Aetna can help.
- The first key to a successful retreat is to physically go to a place that you do not frequently go. The basement of your church does not count. New surroundings aid in new thinking. especially if you can get out into nature.
- Another key is to choose a secluded place where life’s regular interruptions are minimized. Leave the iPod, the phone, the TV at home. Learn to value quietness. We encourage you to dress down to be comfortable. We also encourage you enjoy our food service, so that all may focus on the purpose of your retreat, rather than on the daunting task of feeding the multitude.
- The third key is impromptu community. Gathering your group together, eating in fellowship, sharing special lodging arrangements, experiencing things as a group, greatly strengthens your community. Quality time is a function of quantity time, and a weekend retreat gives your group both.
- The fourth key is programming. Programming can be as simple as free time with a gathering for prayer in the morning and evening, or a full schedule of worship services and seminars.
- The last, and most important key is to make God an integral part of the process, the program and the experience. Remember, Jesus went out in to the wilderness to speak to His Father, and to prepare for the next step in His ministry.
Most retreats are held on weekends, because it is easier for people to attend, but there is a significant advantage to retreats that last longer. Primarily, that you can teach more, do more, bond more and experience more together. It takes at least 24 hours for a group to really come together. After that, is when the real experience begins.
A retreat can be developed by an individual or by a team within a group. The staff at Mt. Aetna is happy to advise you on planning a successful retreat.
Kinds of Retreats at Mt. Aetna
As a Christian Retreat Center we focus on spiritual growth, but there are lots of other kinds of retreats that fit into our mission. These include, but are not limited to:
- Leadership development
- Community service
- Social justice
- Environment care
- Christian theology
- Family bonding
- Trust development
- Nature appreciation
Groups that promote agendas and belief systems contrary to Christianity and our mission would need to find a different place to meet.