• Mark Alan Williams

7 Steps To A Productive Vision Retreat

Updated: Mar 31, 2019

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Some time ago I was facing a major decision. Would I continue to plant churches or become a missionary and train others to plant churches? To help in the decision-making, I went on a vision retreat and asked God what He wanted me to do. I felt led to become a missionary. It was a wonderful leading. Many similar leadings have come from my Vision Retreats over the years.

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CC Image courtesy of Ana_Cotta on Flickr


This week I am going on another Vision (or Prayer) Retreat. I’m excited to get away to pray, envision and plan for the upcoming quarter, year and even the rest of my life. Big and little decisions will be made. I need focus and clarity. I want to hear from God.


I try to do a retreat at least once a quarter, and I outlined why it is so important in the article Who Needs a Vision Retreat. The reasons included:

  • Leaving the routine (often we can’t see the forest because of the trees)

  • Focus timeRest and renewal

  • Seeing the big picture

  • Connecting with God

  • Dreaming new visions and goals

  • Imitating Jesus: (Luke 6:12 NIV) “Jesus went out into the hills to pray, and spent the night praying to God.”

But what do I do on a Vision Retreat—sit and stare or twiddle my thumbs? Not hardly. In fact, usually I end up feeling like I haven’t had enough time, rather than too much time.


Here’s the basic Vision Retreat Agenda I follow: 


1. Thankfully Review Your Blessings 

Gratefulness puts me in the right mindset. I typically begin every day listing things I am thankful for. My list (with many items repeated) has grown to over 23,000 blessings.


On a Vision Retreat it’s helpful to highlight your greatest blessings since the last retreat.


2.Review and Adjust Your Life Plan

Hopefully you have crafted statements of your Life Purpose, Core Values and Life Vision


If you haven’t yet taken these steps, I suggest you study my eBook Don’t Miss Your Life which explains how to accomplish these tasks, FREE when you subscribe to my blog.


On your retreat you can refocus on your Purpose, Values and Vision, and make any needed revisions.


3.Study Scripture and Practice “Listening Prayer”

Prayer should be a two-way conversation—we speak to God and He speaks to us. Study Scripture and ask God to speak to you through it. Record what He is saying to you.


In addition, create a list of specific questions you need guidance for. These can be about personal, work, and relationship issues.


I like to write out my questions on 3 x 5 cards and then pray, often in the beauty of a nature setting. I listen attentively for God to speak through his “still small voice.” This comes in the form of a conviction, a leading or a knowing.


Then I record God’s answers to my issues.


To learn more about listening prayer read these posts:

4.Reflect on Key Questions

Here are some additional Vision Retreat questions suggested by Bobb Biehl:

  • What is overwhelming me?

  • What three decisions are causing me the most stress?

  • What roadblock(s) have me stuck?

  • What areas should I resign from or postpone?

  • What items can I delegate to someone equally capable?

  • What person would I like to mentor and who would I like to mentor me?

  • What problem could I solve with 10% of my personal income?

  • What principle or truth would I like to teach a group of people?

  • What habit would I like to break or establish?

  • What area of life would I like to grow in personally?

My friend Bob Tiede has a blog dedicated to asking questions called Leading With Questions. Check out Bob’s blog for additional questions.


5.Refocus Your Goals and Priorities


Review progress on your goals and make adjustments if needed.


Remember that if you are not a goal setter, you can be a problem solver and achieve many of the same results.


Carefully re-assess your current realities and progress made toward your goals. A Vision Retreat is a great time to cross-off completed goals and add new ones.


To me, this is one of the most important aspects of my Vision Retreat Agenda.


6. Review Your Goal Plans

Goal plans are simply the steps to reach our goals. Consider what steps you need to take to reach your goals. Write them down.


This is Step V of my e-book Don’t Miss Your Life, “Organize to Reach Goals.”


7.Calendar Your Key Activities  

Finally, a Vision Retreat is a great time to update your calendar to reflect changes, new plans and goals. This helps to avoid scheduling conflicts, and over-commitment.


Include:

  • Vision retreats

  • Vacations

  • Education

  • Birthdays

  • Anniversaries

  • Holidays

  • Board meetings

  • Travel

Take these steps and you will stay on track in your Vision Retreat and make progress toward reaching your vision and goals. The time you spend on your Vision Retreat will fly by and will be well spent.

NOTE: This article is based on one of the chapters in my eBook called Don’t Miss Your Life. You can get it for free when you sign up to receive my updates via email.



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