a former coaching program participant called the other day with frustration about how his regular youth ministry retreats have become program-focused, ends unto themselves (“just offer a programmed retreat and that’s a win”). he was wondering about scrapping them.
but good change rarely involves throwing the baby out with the bathwater. sometimes programs need to be shut down; but often they simply need to be retooled and revisioned.
this youth worker had done major work with a team to discern their ministry values. so my input was: strip away all assumptions about what a retreat is (not easy when you’ve done it the same way for many years). then, with your ministry values in front of you, build a retreat that optimizes the rocket fuel of time away together as a means of fully embodying your ministry values.
programs are just programs, not evil but not the goal. the question is: how can we more fully lean into our values?