In The Quiet – Silence Retreats
Oklahoma Christian summer camp and retreat center, Shepherd’s Fold Ranch helps Church Retreats facilitate Silent Retreats.
In the stillness, you are there. We definitely talk about the spiritual discipline but, for most it is difficult to implement. Why is this? For most, their lives are so filled with distractions and activity the idea of quiet and stillness is almost offensive. This is the age of distraction and as believers we need to be in place where we are trusting in the Father more than ever. I believe that the peace and direction that comes from intentional times of quiet are a great channel to connect with God and to “be still and know” that He is God.
What does it take to plan a silent retreat?
One of the benefits of a retreat like this is the simplicity in planning. It does not require much to find a place where you can come and be quiet. All joking aside there are a few simple things you will need to plan a great retreat.
It is imperative that you find a spot with some good outdoor room, a place for meals, adequate sleeping accommodations that is relatively quiet. Most children summer camps and Church Retreat Centers fit the bill, you will just want to communicate to the person you book with what your plan is and ask if there will be any other groups around that could interrupt the weekend. Also, consider the places available for people to be. Ideally a silent retreat is primarily outdoors and this requires comfortable weather and ample walking space. When you have narrowed down your options to 3-4 plan a trip to go visit the locations to best plan.
While the focus is on maintaining silence to hear and connect with the Lord some groups also use the time to fast. If that is your plan then food is not required, but if not then you need to plan what people will eat. Working with the Retreat Center that you choose go over the options for meals available. You can either provide your own meals and rent a kitchen or you can typically hire their kitchen staff. A big consideration should be made if meal times will be shared with other groups. This can make the meal times a little more difficult to maintain silence, but is not undoable. Communication with the Retreat Staff ahead of time is so important!
Once the retreat begins, you should not have to speak. To ensure this you need to make sure all things are taken care of before you arrive both internally and externally.
Define clear expectations for retreaters: what to expect, how long the silence will last, what to bring, etc.
Establish expectations with the Retreat Center: they can talk to the retreaters, but do not be offended becausec they will not talk back, communicate meal times, identify leaders and arrange for contracting and payment.
In the promotion and marketing—– sell the value and power of Silence in today’s culture. Most retreats last for at least 48 hours.
Scripture/ Prayer List
- Relief from burdens: Matthew 11:25-30
- Quenching spiritual dryness: Psalm 119:169-176, Isaiah 55
- Being found: Psalm 23, Psalm 139, Luke 15:1-7 with 8-10 and 11-31
- Shame: 1 John 3:19-24, Isaiah 40:27-31, Psalm 121
Another idea to use when planning your retreats is to set up different stations (similar to stations of the cross) that retreaters can experience through the weekend.
There is a lot more you can do to develop a great Silence Retreat and if you would like more help planning please call us at Shepherd’s FOld Ranch. We would love to help! 918-263-3622 daniel[at]sfrcamps.com