Planning a retreat for a Christian church group can easily be done on a tight budget, with a little creativity and a bit of elbow grease. Follow the steps below in planning and you are sure to have a wonderful time.
1. Choose a setting that is close to home. Gasoline costs can be shared by carpools. There is no need to stop to buy a meal on the way. Have travelers pack a snack for the road trip.
2. Also choose a center that allows you to bring in your own food. Prepare meals in bulk prior to the retreat and bring them with you. Or ask everyone to bring some food for a potluck dinner.
3. Search for speakers that volunteer their time, or ask your local pastor to be your guest speaker.
4. If you need to purchase supplies like notebooks, decorations, or candles, make a list of all the supplies needed in planning your Christian retreat, and distribute the list to your church. Ask for donations, which can be tax deductible.
5. Rather than paying a band to play for your worship time, consider making a CD mix of favorite praise songs. Bring along a portable sound system.
6. If you are planning a Christian retreat with a theme, and you wish to have decorations, remember to check your church inventory for decorations that had been previously purchased and stored away.
7. If you are planning to have meals served at your Christian retreat, why not choose to skip the first evening’s dinner and bring hot dogs to roast over the campfire. (This is a great ice breaker too!)
8. Work with the camp director to see where you can opt to cut costs. Christian charity is known to be extended for retreat planning on a budget. Perhaps you can opt out of the linen service that the camp customarily provides. Ask your retreat attendees to bring sleeping bags and their own pillows instead. Can your group volunteer one hour per day on work crew at camp, in order to offset the cost for your group? Find out if there are any “scholarship” funds available through the retreat center itself. Often these camps have yearly donors that support the camp.