On Retreat

I find myself frequently and joyfully “on retreat” these days…facilitating them for leaders and teams, guiding them for our own ministry teams, planning them for others on Sabbatical, and engaging in them for myself. No matter what the context or the group, the purpose of a soul care retreat is pretty straight forward: deepening intimacy with Christ.

On retreat we intentionally leave behind the needs and concerns of our relationships and responsibilities, recognizing that the only place where it’s ok to be selfish is in the care of our soul (where we learn how to self-lessly serve others). On retreat we quiet our heart, mind, and body in order for God to enter our soul – the place where he alone is to reside. On retreat we release the false self (and all the idiosyncratic tendencies thereof) and embrace the true self (the me I long to be). On retreat we get reacquainted with God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit through his Word, prayer, and in reflection on our life in Christ. On retreat we slow down our pace of life (literally and figuratively) in order to attend to the voice of the Master. On retreat we learn how to exegete the verb “to be” in lieu of our daily “to do” list. On retreat we’re forgiven, redeemed, sustained, and renewed for the path of life ahead of us.

On retreat we are reminded what matters most: our walk with God. On retreat we need to leave as much clutter behind so that the focus of our heart and mind remains intentionally devoted toward God. When we lean fully in his direction, we can with confidence believe that he indeed will whisper words of loving affirmation into the receptive ears of our heart. When we are still we can know God.

On retreat we are children of the Most High God. We are treasured in his sight. We are beloved.

When ever you are invited to go “on retreat” be sure to say an enthusiastic yes—and then watch how your soul comes alive once more. As an avid fan of retreats, if led properly, I believe they will undoubtedly lead you into the transformational longings of your soul. Trust the Lord and he’ll bless you mightily on retreat.

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How would you finish the sentence that begins, “On retreat, I…”?

When was the last time you were invited to go on retreat?

This entry also appears in Conversations Journal Blog.


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Steve Macchia

Founder & President

The Rev. Dr. Stephen A. Macchia is founder and president of Leadership Transformations, Inc. (LTI), a ministry serving the spiritual formation, discernment, and renewal of leaders and learners since 2003. For more than 20 years he has been the Director of the Pierce Center for Disciple-Building at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also serves as an adjunct faculty member in the Doctor of Ministry Program. From 1989-2003 he was the president of Vision New England, the largest regional church renewal association in the country. Earlier in his ministry life, Steve was a member of the pastoral staff of Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massachusetts for 11 years. He is the author or co-author of 17 books, including The Discerning Life (Zondervan Reflective), and Crafting a Rule of Life, Becoming A Healthy Church (LTI), and Broken and Whole (IVP).  He and his wife Ruth live in the Boston (MA) area and are the proud parents of two married children and grandparents to three adorable grandchildren. Steve’s personal website is www.SteveMacchia.com.

My soul comes alive singing the great hymns of the church and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. I’m in awe of God for fulfilling the dream for LTI that he birthed in my heart, for the team he has assembled, and the transformational impact experienced in the leaders and teams we serve.

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Mitzi Mak

Selah-West Faculty

Mitzi started her professional life as a high school social studies teacher. She and her husband Jerry then served cross-culturally for ten+ years, living abroad first in India and then Kurdistan, N. Iraq. In addition to being a Spiritual Director, she now serves as a Formation and Care pastor in her local church in Houston, TX. She has graduated from LTI’s Selah Spiritual Direction training as well as LTI’s Emmaus Formational Leadership Program.

Mitzi enjoys engaging conversation, reading fiction, doing jigsaw/crossword puzzles, ocean gazing and exploring the world with Jerry through food and travel.

God has two main callings in Mitzi’s life: to care for those who care for others and to be a guide in helping others have a healthy relationship with the Trinity – recognizing God’s loving presence and activity in their lives and how to faithfully respond.

Selah was a transformative experience for me – allowing the contemplative within to emerge and to beautifully co-exist with my extraverted personality.