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…”?

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This entry also appears in Conversations Journal Blog.


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Steve Macchia

Founder & President

Steve is a graduate of Northwestern College (IA) and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (M.Div. and D.Min.). His prior ministry includes serving on the pastoral staff at Grace Chapel (Lexington, MA) and as president of Vision New England. Since July 1, 2003 Steve has served as founder and president of Leadership Transformations, director of the Pierce Center for Disciple-Building, and adjunct faculty in the Doctor of Ministry department at Gordon-Conwell. He is the author of sixteen books, including The Discerning Life (Zondervan Reflective),  Baker bestseller Becoming a Healthy Church, and Crafting a Rule of Life (IVP). He lives in the Boston area with his wife Ruth and is the proud father of two grown children, Rebekah and Nathan, daughter in-love Ashley, and papa to his beloved granddaughter, Brenna Lynn and twin grandsons, Aiden Joseph and Carson Stephen. “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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