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One of the things that I notice from all my retreat attendance over the years, both as a participant as well as a speaker, is that what happens after the retreat is just as important (if not more important) as to what went on during the retreat. There are many people who get jaded or cynical about retreats because after the retreat “high” they go back to their lifestyle without any hope for transformation. People start to question and wonder if what they have experienced is genuine.
Therefore, it really comes down to perspective.
If you look at one retreat as “the ultimate” experience that will change us, then you will be very disappointed. In fact, the Christian journey is marked by little wins along the way rather than one huge win. Every blessing that we received from every retreat is like a “stake” driven to the ground. They become the markers for us as we look back at our lives and see God’s Faithfulness. They tell a story of how God has worked in our lives, and everything in between those markers will have a lot of ups and downs.
This is why at the end of the retreat, we always say, “This is not the end, but just the beginning.” It is the beginning of living a life in light of the convictions that we have received. It is the beginning of a new direction that God is point us towards. It is the beginning of a new perspective and attitude that we are choosing to live by.
In order to help you in the process, here are some things to keep in mind:
2) DISCIPLESHIP. Part of our journey with Christ is learning how to walk with someone who is a little further in the journey than us. Usually at retreats, God exposes our weaknesses and different areas that we need to grow in. This is when finding someone to help us along in the journey will be very beneficial. Don’t be shy. Just ask someone that you respect to disciple you. You will not regret it. It can very well transform your life.
3) DEPENDABILITY. Find someone that you can be dependable to and be dependent on. In essence it is finding a good accountability partner. Remember that we are able to achieve our goals better when we have someone checking up on us. Someone who is dependable and who will be faithful in making sure that we are staying true to our commitments. Remember, this only works if we are: consistent and challenging.
4) DEVELOPMENT. After each retreat, God usually challenges us with an area of our lives where we need to grow and develop. For example, God might be convicting you to grow in the area of Bible knowledge. It is crucial that we find practical ways to apply these convictions in our lives. We need a clear game plan to advance forward. This is when a discipler will be very helpful to have so that they can help navigate these steps with you.
5) DEEDS. One thing that keeps the blessings and convictions fresh after the retreat is when we are able to serve others. There is something about giving out of the overflow of blessings that not only liberates us, but it solidifies the blessings. The best context to do this is in our LIFE Groups. Remember they are like mini-church plants. Therefore, if we are able to build up our LIFE Groups, we are actually building up the church.
These are exciting times. God has blessed us tremendously at this retreat. We want to continue in the momentum that we have gained. Let’s continue to ride the wave and see where the Lord will lead us throughout this year. If this retreat is a glimpse of what God is going to do, then hold on because the best is yet to come.