The Benefits of Family Retreats | Align Your Family for God’s Purposes

Paul Epperson

February 5, 2023

To understand the need for and value of family retreats, consider this…

Many years ago, a movie came out about a man who was feeling overwhelmed with all life’s demands. He just couldn’t seem to keep up with the expectations at work and balance it with time with his wife and family. He couldn’t be in more than one place at a time, and there weren’t enough hours in the day. He came to the conclusion that in his own strength he would never be enough to meet all these demands. In order to fix the problem, he attempted to clone himself. Although the experiment was “successful,” and quite humorous, it caused more harm than good.

Have you ever felt like this man? Overwhelmed by life’s responsibilities and others’ expectations of you? 

Do you realize that Jesus may have experienced this same feeling? 

What to Learn from Jesus about the Importance of Retreats

There were crowds of people that followed Jesus, waiting for His next message, lining up with their sick relatives that needed healing, just longing to be near Him and twelve disciples that He was pouring into and training day in and day out. There was so much work to be done. A kingdom had to be built, and Jesus had to take His place as the true king, right? 

How did He handle these situations when the needs seemed endless? 

Mark 6:30-31 tells us that after He sent them out in pairs, preaching and healing others, He called the disciples to, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” In the middle of the chaos, He calls them to leave it all behind for a time and get away. 

Jesus knew that together they needed a retreat from all the hustle and bustle of life if they were to further align with His purposes and to be refueled. 

When was the last time you did that for your family? 

How great is it that Jesus both models and gives us permission, in the midst of life and work, to push a brief pause button in order for our families to rest, refresh and realign with God’s purpose for our lives? These family retreats are meant to be intentional. They don’t require getting away to exotic places that cost a fortune.

What Do Family Retreats Look Like?

A few years ago, my wife and I began to sense the need to set aside times such as this for ourselves and our five children. So, we started having family retreats.

Here is what these retreats look like:

  • We try to make space to have fun together by playing games, hiking, fishing, and cooking together. 
  • We weave in space for rest by sleeping in, reading good books, and having unhurried mealtimes together. 
  • We renew spiritually by reading scripture, praying together, making space to get alone with the Lord, as well as spending time with close friends that encourage and spur us on. 

3 Benefits of Family Retreats

Here are a few benefits we enjoy by having regular family retreats:

  1. We return to life’s responsibilities with the reminder of who Christ is, able to walk in His strength, not carrying the burden that everything depends on us. 
  2. We come away with a clearer focus on the Lord and His purposes for us specifically. 
  3. We are revived and renewed as a family unit. 

Make Space to Align Your Family

Would you take a moment right now to pull out your calendar and make space for this? If we don’t fill in our calendar, others will fill it for us. 

May we never be too busy to follow Jesus’ example of this. These intentional family retreats are not meant to add stress by taking up space in your already busy schedule, but to open an opportunity to be overwhelmed by the refreshing presence of Jesus. 

Will you make space, right now, to get away with Him?