Good and Bad Staff Retreats

Idea This morning begins the annual NCCC staff retreat. I've been to a lot of staff retreats, intern retreats, campus ministry retreats, etc., over the years. I can safely say that good ones can lead to huge ministry breakthroughs. However, bad ones can cause dissension, disruption, or a sense that it was a complete waste of time.

NCCC's staff retreat is going to focus on team chemistry and reorganizing the way we do things to fit some new realities. We'll have fun, worship, learn and grow together. Unless it goes badly 🙂

Bad staff retreats have some things in common. They:

  • Allow people to dominate conversation.
  • Allow people to not participate or goof off.
  • Have no real plan for aim.
  • Too didactic. Some teaching is good…but too much makes the retreat like traffic school.
  • Have no spiritual depth.
  • Give people a venue to have it out in front of everyone else.

Good staff retreats are:

  • Focused on mission, team chemistry and spiritual growth.
  • Engage everyone present.
  • Those which avoid the ways of bad retreats.
  • Fun. There should be some laughter. If there isn't…booooooooo.
  • A way of creating the space for people to think in dimensions they can't everyday in the midst of the tyranny of the urgent.
  • A way of getting everyone on the same page.
  • Getting everyone amped up for a new year.

How about you? What makes a staff retreat bad or good?



Dr. Tim Spivey is Pastor of New Vintage Church in Escondido, California. He is the author of numerous articles and one book, "Jesus: The Powerful Servant." A sought after speaker for events, Tim also serves as Adjunct Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University. Tim serves as a church consultant, and his writings are featured on numerous websites, including:, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

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