7 Tips To Planning An Awesome Youth Retreat


SkiLJlogo2016-smA youth retreat is a powerful opportunity for students to experience spiritual growth and focus on friendship and community. But how do you find that perfect balance of fun, worship, and making sure your basic needs like food and lodging are met? Here are some tips to planning a retreat your youth group will never forget.
  1. Choose a location that allows for fun activities. Having an activity component allows youth to let off steam during the day and prepare for worship at night. In the summer, consider a place that has access to activities like swimming, canoeing or outdoor sports. For a winter youth retreat, consider staying in a place with access to skiing, snowboarding or snow tubing.
  2. Make sure there is plenty of food. Even better, find a facility that offers a meal plan. There are some retreat and conference centers that offer dining options in their on-campus facilities.
  3. Find a speaker who can relate to youth. There are several speakers and groups who regularly talk at youth conventions and retreats. The Skit Guys are one example of well-known team who use comedy and drama to relate to youth.
  4. Include praise and worship music. Worship is often named as the most powerful part of a youth retreat. Ask for recommendations of musical groups near the facility or consider finding a group who will attend a retreat in a getaway location. Some praise bands, such as The Wayne Kerr Band, regularly play at youth events and know how to make worship memorable.
  5. Include a mission component. Giving back to the community where you are having your retreat will impact both the recipients and the youth who are doing the projects. Seek out local churches or nonprofit organizations in the area that need volunteers, or consider youth retreats with mission components built-in.
  6. Choose a scenic location and allow for some downtime. The mountains of North Carolina make a scenic and relaxing location for youth to experience times of reflection. Choose a location with labyrinth or other places of meditation.
  7. Eliminate distractions. You’d be surprised what happens when youth have a chance to relate one-on-one. Look for retreat locations that don’t have easy access to TV and video games.
Like these ideas? Consider Ski Lake Junaluska. Choose from six pre-planned weekend packages that include worship, music, lodging, acclaimed speakers, meals and skiing in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina. Or customize your own package using the beautiful Lake Junaluska facilities and discounted access to Cataloochee Ski Area or Wolf Ridge Ski Resort. Our packages include lift tickets, ski and boot rentals and ski lessons. To find out more about Ski Lake Junaluska, visit lakejunaluska.com/ski or call 800-222-4930.

Resources for Vital Congregations



Lewis Center for Church Leadership

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Books

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Serve Your Neighbor

GBHEM Leadership Resources


Living Faithfully: Human Sexuality and the United Methodist Church

Englewood Book Review

Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations

Ted Talks: The Golden Circle

Ted Talks: The Power of Vulnerability

Ted Talks: The Price of Invulnerability

Design Thinking

Meditations on the Ministry of All Christians


Be A Disciple

A Disciple’s Path; A Guide for United Methodist

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Adult Christian Studies from the Wesley Ministry Network

Traveling Together: A Guide for Disciple Forming Congregations


Living As United Methodist Christians

Methodist Doctrine: The Essentials

Reclaiming our Wesleyan Tradition: John Wesley’s Sermons for Today

John Wesley Sermons: Anthology


Get Their Name

Evangelism & Theology in the Wesleyan Spirit

Canoeing the Mountains

Fresh Expressions

Fresh Expressions: Dinner Church

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Reach New Disciples

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: 50 Ways to Reach People

Community: The Structure of Belonging


Institute for Emerging Issues

Congregations 4 Children


The Royce and Jane Reynolds Ministry Fund Grants

The Duke Endowment


The Appalachian District Church Vitality Team has been prayerfully seeking ways to help support you and the ministries of your local congregation during this COVID-19 pandemic. Together they have diligently researched and connected with others throughout the conference and our denomination to identify resources and offer them to you. We hope they will be helpful to you and bless you greatly in leading your churches and communities through this unprecedented time. We are very grateful to the District Vitality Team and other contributors for their great work on this resource.
This faithful team has created three documents, two of which you are receiving today. They include:

  • Family Home Worship – designed to help families establish a regular worship space within their homes as well as a time where they can worship together.
  • Tech Strategies – to help guide you in selecting effective tools and resources within your budget to best communicate in the digital world.

We believe these resources will be of great benefit to you. Also know that the District Vitality Team is available to answer any questions you might have in regards to the documents attached. If you have questions, you may email Rev. Howard Fleming at hfleming@wnccumc.net.


  • Resources
Follow Jesus. Make Disciples. Transform the World.