Successful Christian retreats help people grow in their walk with God while enjoying a getaway from the stresses of daily life. Coordinate speakers, study groups and activities for your retreat around a spiritually-uplifting theme. A great theme gives retreat participants a central idea to focus on and ponder throughout their retreat.
Some of the most straightforward themes for Christian retreats are those based on a book or verse of scripture. For example, you could focus your retreat on John 3:16 ("For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.") and invite speakers to discuss the meaning and impact of that verse. You might also make an entire book of the Bible, such as Proverbs, the theme of your retreat. Spend the retreat studying your chosen book or verse carefully as you discuss ways to apply its principles to your life.
Instead of choosing a certain verse or book of the Bible, you can select a topic central to Christian thought and living as the theme for your retreat. You might choose the theme "worship" and dedicate much of the retreat to worship through song, as well as studying portions of scripture that discuss worship. The topic "wisdom" also makes a great focus for a Christian retreat. You can center the weekend around practical ways to glean God's wisdom and use it in your daily life.
For a more scholarly retreat, such as one for aspiring pastors or seminary students, select a theme that addresses an important theological principle. For example, you might devote your retreat to studying the theological mystery of the Trinity or substitutionary atonement. Invite speakers who are experts on your chosen subject and select Bible passages and scholarly writings addressing your topic to read during the retreat. If your retreat is interdenominational, be careful not to select themes that not all Christian denominations agree upon, such as predestination, transubstantiation. the inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible, Satan -- real or metaphorical, means of salvation, as well as heaven, hell and pergatory.
Interpersonal themes help retreat-goers improve their relationships. You could theme your retreat around improving parent-child relationships and invite parents to bring their sons and daughters. A mother-daughter retreat theme would focus on issues specific to women and include more feminine activities, like a tea party, while a father-son retreat might include camping outdoors and sports. You can also invite husbands and wives and theme your retreat around God's plan for romance and marriage. Marriage retreats can include romantic dinners and dances as well as serious prayer, worship and Bible studies.
Inject more fun into your retreats by choosing a theme based on fairytales or even superheroes. Always relate your theme back to Scripture and God. A women's retreat might be princess-themed and focus on helping women understand that they are royalty in God's kingdom. Decorate the facility like a fairytale castle. A men's retreat might be Superman-themed and focus on portraying Jesus as the ultimate, perfect superhero who can save us. You could also challenge retreat attendees to be "Supermen" themselves by devoting their lives to serving others.