You’ve just hugged a new circle of friends goodbye, the refrain from the last worship song you sang together playing in your head. Your journal is filled with nuggets of wisdom from speakers and breakout sessions, and you’ve topped off your water bottle for the ride home.
A Christian retreat or conference is an opportunity for refreshment, redirection, and encouragement. It’s a chance to connect with others who love the Lord and, like you, want to enrich their walk through good-for-the-soul activities.
But once it's over, how do you harness such a rich experience as you transition back into the messiness of life?
Here are a few things to consider:
Lean in to relationships
Chances are there will be many that-was-so-good moments from your retreat, particularly from the speakers. But some of the most worthwhile moments happen outside the auditorium — over lunch, in the pool, taking a walk.
Personal connections are transformational, and not just for you. Consider how God may use you in a single conversation or word of encouragement to leave an indelible mark on someone’s life. These unscheduled, organic moments of community are rich byproducts of these events.
Besides, the sweetness of those memories will linger long after you return to the challenges of real life.
Focus on a single change
Resetting the spiritual temperature for your entire household can be daunting, and let’s face it, the rest of your family wasn’t at the event so they may not share your enthusiasm. Why invite defeat before you’ve even started?
Instead, challenge yourself to make one personal change from your retreat. Maybe it’s a renewed commitment for time in the Word; maybe it’s a tweak to your prayer life or a new approach to journaling. Perhaps one of the speakers said something you can’t shake, and you want to commit it to memory or put it into practice.
Surrender to a single, good change and commit to seeing it through.
Phone a friend
The best way to hang on to that connection to the conference is to maintain a connection from the conference. Odds are you made new friends or took someone on retreat with you. Schedule a regular check-in via text, email, or phone so you can remind each other of that mountaintop experience, or hold each other accountable for that single, focused change to your life.
Commit it to prayer
God knows how He met you during your time away. And He certainly knows where He’s taking you. Ask Him to help you align your steps with His, and to reveal what He wants you to take away from your conference experience.