Might: Spiritual, organizational, personal and positional sources and resources are appropriately used to make decisions and develop people

Do’s and Don’ts for a Ministers Spiritual Retreat Day

What is a spiritual retreat day? A concise definition is “a planned day away from work to focus exclusively on your personal spiritual life – your heart, soul, and mind.” The beginning of a new year is a good time to schedule a personal spiritual retreat day. In the article 15 Ways To Make A Personal Spiritual Retreat Meaningful we offered some practical ideas for designing a personal spiritual retreat. In this article we will provide some additional tips, best practices and do’s and don’ts to keep in mind as you plan a spiritual retreat day.


  • Do include your monthly Spiritual Retreat Day in your annual budget planning.
  • Do find a day to be away from the office where your absence will not cause undue issue for co-workers (missing critical meetings or during peak loading weeks).
  • Do reserve a room in advance at an area hotel, resort, state park, or retreat center.
  • Do work ahead in the days prior to your retreat so you’re not focusing on the work you’re missing instead of what God has in mind for you.
  • Do have a plan for your day. Use this handout as well as the handouts “15 Ways To Make A Spiritual Retreat Meaningful” and “The Sabbath Diamond” as guides for outlining your day or refer to other resources you have found helpful. Don’t be rigid and glued to your plan. Feel free to alter your plan and extend times that are particularly productive.
  • Do know your preferred spiritual pathways and plan around your top 2-3 pathways.
  • Do take resources with you, such as different translations of the Bible, devotional books, ancient and contemplative spiritual writings as well as books by new and favorite authors.
  • Do experiment with practices that differ from your typical daily spiritual habits and routines.
  • Do let family and staff you work with know of your intentions so they can leave you alone, and if needed, how to contact you/find you.


  • Don’t assume Satan isn’t paying attention to your efforts and will try to distract you.
  • Don’t use it as a personal catch up or planning day for ministry responsibilities.
  • Don’t try to accomplish too much in your time (this leads to making you feel rushed and tired when they day ends).
  • Don’t use technology any more than you have to, especially your phone.
  • Don’t feel guilty if you sleep much of the time. Rest is a valid Sabbath practice.

Best Practices:

  • Find a place within a reasonable drive and where you are not likely to encounter friends, family or church members.
  • Retreat centers and state parks typically provide the most economical and the most private settings as well as allow for uninterrupted times outdoors.
  • Get a good night’s sleep the nights before your retreat so you are as fresh as possible.
  • Most places accept early check-in. Spend the morning in the office, if necessary, then use the afternoon, evening, and next morning for your 24-hour retreat. Add a second night if experience suggests you benefit from the extra time.
  • Use the first part of the retreat to review your plan and to settle yourself into silence.
  • Do your serious praying and thinking first.
  • Consider journaling to capture your thoughts, experiences and impressions.
  • While it is fresh on your mind use the last minutes of your time to plan your next spiritual retreat day and consider how you can improve the use of your retreat time in the future.
  • Buy your spouse a special gift or card as a thank you for supporting your investment in soul care.
  • Build a personal library of books on Soul Care to draw upon, challenge and inspire.
  • Understand that your spiritual retreat day is supposed to be a blessing, not a duty or obligation.

Posted on January 17, 2023

Jim Baker

Jim is a Church Organizational Leadership and Management Coach, Consultant and Trainer. Throughout his career Jim has demonstrated a passion for showing Pastors and Ministers how to use organizational tools for church and personal growth and health.

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“For I may be absent in body, but I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see how well ordered you are and the strength of your faith in Christ.” Colossians 2:5