Ideas for Planning a Young Adult Retreat

Ideas for Planning a Young Adult Retreat

(with contributions from Sarah Allen, Okemos, MI, USA)

Guest Minister

  • Schedule a year in advance (especially if you’re going to invite an International Headquarters minister) because of availability.
  • Choose based upon who and what your young adults need; don’t get just anyone.
  • What special skills does the person have that could address your group’s particular needs or interests?


  • Pull together a diverse team to help
  • Schedule a cook and cooking crew plenty in advance.

Who’s Invited?

  • Choose an age range and make it clear.
  • Sometimes it helps to state the intention of the retreat, too. Like: “Young Adult Retreat (18-35): Beginning a Household” – this way people who fall in the age range, but perhaps not the life situation can choose whether they want to attend.
  • Be Inclusive! Make sure you’re inviting everyone – not just your own friends. That’s the spirit of community!
  • Is your retreat barrier-free and accessible? Choose venues and activities that everyone can participate in.


  • Will you offer childcare on the grounds? Off site?
  • Will children be with their parents during the daytime? Nighttime only? Neither?
  • Will you offer no child care at all?
  • Decide how to handle this beforehand and make it clear on publications.

Getting The Word Out

  • Email a flyer to your mission center office, so they can help communicate.
  • Ask them for a list of young adults’ postal and email addresses.
  • Try mailing postcard invitations – they’re cheaper than letters! (Check with the Post Office before printing to make sure you’ve got the correct specs.)
  • Try recruiting with grads and other young adults at Sr. High camps in the summer.
  • For a first retreat, try pre-registration to get an idea of how many people to expect. But always be prepared for the unexpected!

The First Night – Ideas

  • Leave the first night free and open. Just hang out.]
  • Use it for registration time.
  • Give out an inexpensive snack like popcorn.
  • Careful on the mixers you choose, if any. Sometimes mixers can make people uncomfortable. Make sure it’s low-pressure.

Daily Schedule

  • Create a daily schedule beforehand of what will take place throughout the retreat.
  • Run it past the guest minister and cooking/facilities staff to get their input
  • Include it with publicity info – so young adults can know what to expect
  • If you have a band or guitarist, make the most of it!
  • Question & Answer sessions are always good! Everyone wants to be heard!

Elective Classes ideas

  • Financial Management, Parenting, Healthy Lifestyle, Real World Ethics, “Counter-Cultural” Living, Practical Social Activism, Fighting Poverty, etc.
  • Be creative! What would your group of Young Adults would be interested in learning about?

A suggested schedule:

• Breakfast
• Worship
• Guest Minister Class 1
• Break
• Guest Minister Class 2
• Lunch
• Afternoon Activity (bowling, kickball, hiking, Bingo, local community service project, etc.)
• Guest Minister Class 3
• Free Time
• Q & A / Elective Class / Group Discussion Time
• Dinner
• Evening Fun Activity (carnival, card tourney, costume party, etc.)

Before You Go

  • Clean and pack before the closing worship so everyone pitches in.
  • Distribute a brief survey about the retreat. Get some feedback! Likes, dislikes, suggestions for next time…

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