In the other blog titled, “How to plan a successful Christian Retreat”, we addressed retreats that were not very fun; some were just plain boring. We also talked about adding some fun elements to your retreat and camp. Included here are more ideas to add some fun elements and make your camp or retreat an experience people will not want to miss.
I have seen camps offer prizes for the most points scored in simple sporting games, and even offer gag prizes for the low scoring teams or individual. Some retreats had huge trophies for the checker champion. Some offered a prize for a short reflective paragraph summarizing the retreat experience. For many camps, this was a great way to engage people as well as have fun at the beginning of a final service.
One of the most fun things we do at our own camps is creating a video highlight of the different activities throughout the day. A quick edit before the evening service and your three-minute highlight is ready to show before the message or worship time. Adults, youth and children all love seeing themselves and their peers on the big screen. We have gone from one video for the camp to one video for every morning service and evening service. The morning video includes the late night activities and games, and the evening video highlights the daytime activities. This will not only work for Christian
retreat centers in Pennsylvania, we have seen it work like gangbusters at a retreat we held in South Africa. When the South Africans saw themselves on the big screen, they were overjoyed. It set the tone for our final service!
We even do candid questions on our camp videos.
- “What’s the best part of the retreat?”
- “What did God do for you?”
As the videos progressed over the years, we added music, visual effects, waterproof cameras for under water swimming shots and even a drone for great overhead scenes. Today it’s easier to find someone with the equipment and talent who is looking for a venue and people who appreciate their gifts. Look for that young person who loves technology. This can create an atmosphere that sets the stage for a receptive heart. It also provides you with a visual to help advertise your event the following year.
The same thing applies during your sessions. I have directed camps and retreats in Pennsylvania for children for 27 years, and one thing I’ve learned is that you need to have some fun! Although most adults wouldn’t readily admit it, they want to have fun in their services as well. We take 15 minutes before our service begins and toss giant beach balls from the back to the front and back again in a boys versus girls competition. Many, many times I hear an older adult chaperones say, “We should do this back home before our church service starts; our folks would love it!” Our adults enjoy it as much as the kids, and it helps to prepare individuals for what is about to happen in our services.
Our whole day at camps and retreats sets the tone to receive from God. Make it a fun retreat and make it a fun service; it will make the heart more receptive.
I have a little saying; there are two ways to enter an evening service:
This was a great day, and it’s going to be a great service.
This was a miserable day and it’s going to be a miserable service.
As a Pennsylvania Christian retreat center, Bongiorno wants to help you have a successful camp/retreat. We offer many elements to make your retreat fun and more engaging; many are free and some have a minimal cost per person. If you need ideas, contact us, we want to help you prepare your guests for what God wants to do in their lives.