Themes for Family Church Retreats

Camping can lower the cost of family church retreats.

Family church retreats offer an enjoyable and memorable experience to all attending. Using a theme, such as a Bible-based concept or pop culture reference, can add familiar elements to what otherwise might be a new experience. Congregation members will make connections with others in their family and church through the activities and teaching that flow out of the event’s overall concept.

1 Bible-Based

A retreat can help a Bible story become more practical.

Studying a portion of the Bible together can inspire families to new spiritual discoveries. Incorporating a sensitivity to all ages doesn't need to sacrifice the depth of the weekend. A theme on the great men and women of Scripture can incorporate a Bible study for adults, and decorating Barbie dolls or action figures for the kids. Using the "Fruit of the Spirit" challenge from Galatians 5 can include activities that deal with growing things in nature, or meals that involve exotic fruits. Other ideas include:

--The Full Armor of God, using Ephesians 6 and taking place at a castle or medieval-themed restaurant. --David and Goliath, using 1 Samuel 17, held at a historic battlefield. --Discover Your Spiritual Gifts, using 1 Corinthians 12, at a hotel near a mall. --Get Out of the Boat, using Matthew 14:22-33, on a houseboat.

2 Pop Culture

Movies and TV shows offer recognizable themes for retreats. A small change to a popular title or name, such as switching "The Amazing Race" to "The Amazing Grace," adds a sense of reputability to a new experience. Alternative themes can include:

--X-Men and Women: Becoming People of the Cross --The Matrix: Are You the One? --The Price Is Right: Learning a Biblical View of Money --Life: Learning Basic Life Skills

3 Concert Weekend

In the warmer months, several Christian concert festivals offer extended weekends for families and churches to gather together. Some festivals provides their own theme, such as the "re:new" theme of Ichthus 2011 or the ongoing unity theme of Unity Fest. Other festivals, such as Creation Fest and Alive Festival, offer a good environment for listening to music and provide a theme of exploring what Christianity has to offer. For those who are new to church or unfamiliar with its music industry, these events create an effective premise.

4 Generational Investment

A biblical theme rooted in Deuteronomy 6 is that of one generation investing into the next. Parents can partner with their church to invest into their kids, using themes that are centered around the passage from childhood into adulthood. Themes can include:

--Survival Camp (challenging initiatives) --Boot Camp (fun military events) --R.O.P.E. (Rite Of Passage Experience)

Tony Myles is a pastor and national speaker on youth culture. He has been writing professionally since 2000, has a weekly health and fitness newspaper column in the Cleveland suburbs, reviews for "YouthWorker Journal" and was a featured reporter for the "Kalamazoo Gazette." He holds a Master of Business Administration in adolescent development from Indiana Wesleyan University.