As relentless as leadership demands are, wise leaders follow Jesus’ example of “walking away from it all” to be with their Father. Whether it’s several days at the beginning or end of the year, a day each quarter, or something else – a rhythm of spiritual refueling and retooling is vital to healthy leadership. Let’s extend that privilege to our entire staff – leaders in their own right.
Paid staff retreats were a natural progression of the paradigm of corporate worship, prayer, and relational community God ushered into our ministry several decades ago.
Not that its progression always felt natural or normal or right!
When God first prompted us to honor Him through active worship and prayer at our ministry, I chafed at the amount of time it was taking. Shouldn’t we do this on our own time, or Sunday mornings at church? And weren’t our financial partners giving money so we could do the work of the ministry, not sit around praising God?!
We came to realize that although our staff didn’t gather together on a Sunday morning, we were still members of God’s family – designed to connect with Him even in the work setting.
As God matured the paradigm, He led us to add a season of worship and prayer to our monthly staff meetings. We soon extended those half-day meetings to full days twice a year. We called them “Space & Pace Days” with a primary purpose of engaging with God and each other through worship, prayer, focusing on a current spiritual theme within the ministry, and one-on-one time to reflect with God.
Those one-on-one times with God became so valuable that we added “Personal Space & Pace Days” to our annual schedule of staff meetings. Twice a year or so, we pay our staff to go offsite to be with the Lord. There’s no set agenda, no expectations – just the freedom to spend the day with our heavenly Father in whatever way the Spirit leads.
1. It puts teeth to your God-honoring culture – demonstrating your commitment to provide a work environment with scheduled opportunities for spiritual growth.
2. It honors employees as children of God who benefit from extended time with their Father, instead of inadvertently viewing them as “commodities” who solely do the work of the ministry.
3. Ministry work can be exhausting. Built-in times with God bring much-needed replenishment and restoration.
4. Paying your employees to spend the day with God provides them with an opportunity and a responsibility to intentionally connect with God. The fact that it’s a work day wards off typical distractions.
5. The money spent to provide retreat days yields dividends of spiritual vitality within staff members that can’t be measured in typical ROI metrics.
At our ministry, Personal Space & Pace Days are among the most treasured days of the year. We regularly receive feedback from staff about how meaningful these times are to them.
One staffer emailed, “Thank you so much for allowing us to have a day to be with God. Of everything we do to connect with God at the ministry, this is the most special to me. I had never spent a full day with God like this before, and now it’s something I do other times too. God always meets with me and speaks to my heart.”
As you consider ways to honor God within the culture of your ministry, consider paid retreat days. When you give your staff a paid day to be with Jesus, you’re blessing them and you’re honoring God.”
“When you give your staff a paid day to be with Jesus, you’re blessing them and you’re honoring God.”- Lisa Hosler
How do you foster connection with God within the ministry where you serve? Feel free to share your thoughts in the Comment Section below.