Choosing a facility for your Christian retreat is an important decision. For the next few days, this is the place where your guests will eat, sleep, make new memories, and grow closer to each other and Christ. Throughout the entire course of the event, you want your guests to be in an environment where they feel comfortable, safe, and at ease.
You might feel like you are drowning in options, but the decision is not impossible. There are a couple of key criteria that can help guide you in making a perfect choice. Here are 5 deal breakers that might help you rule out some of your options:
If your guests are to have an enjoyable and stress-free time at your retreat, it’s of the utmost importance that the facility you choose is clean. After all, how can your guests focus on their experience if they’re distracted by their living conditions? Some guests may even have a severe aversion to dirt or germs and reasonably so.
In extreme conditions, uncleanliness may even pose a serious threat to your guests’ health. Things like mold can cause sickness and headaches. In addition, if the location has an infestation of insects or pests that’s a red flag to run the other direction.
Bottom line: make sure you carefully inspect your facility for any signs of subpar cleanliness. Be on the watch for unswept floors, dirty surfaces, strange odors, and bugs crawling out of every crevice. Even if it seems overly cautious, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
2. Unfriendly Staff
Believe it or not, the staff at your retreat facility can make or break your entire event. These are the people you will go to if you need directions, parking, or help with any aspect of your stay. They should make everything about the facility easy and adaptable to your needs. If you wind up working with the wrong kind of people, the result can be some serious headaches for both you and your guests.
You should get a pretty good idea of the staff attitude upon initially visiting your facility or even upon calling to arrange the visit. You are looking for hosts who are flexible, understanding, and pleasant to work with. If you sense any sort of tension or can foresee any issues arising in the future, maybe it’s better to turn your attention to a facility with staff who are more accommodating.
3. Limited Space
Space is infinitely valuable when it comes to any type of event. You will need space to seat all your guests – comfortably – and staff, with room to spare. You will need adequate living spaces, as well as bathrooms, for the attendees. You will need space for your speakers and/or worship team to set up. And if you are planning to do any activities, then extra space is a must-have.
When it comes to choosing a facility, it is best to size up. If there is any hint of doubt that the facility may be too small, it is safer to assume that it will be. There are ways to make a large space feel smaller, but not vice versa. Claustrophobia can ruin an event with otherwise unlimited potential; when searching for a venue, always look for one with plenty of open, versatile spaces.
4. No Food Services
Meals are a huge part of your retreat experience. And if your facility doesn’t provide any assistance, this can place great strain on your own staff. First of all, you would need to assemble your own team, including cooks, servers, cleaners, and more.
Instead of getting to enjoy the event, these people would sacrifice their time and energy feeding the rest of the guests; while many people would be glad to serve, it is better to avoid placing a needless burden on them.
You would also have to estimate the amount of food needed and risk either not having enough or letting some go to waste; in the latter case, you could end up spending far more money than you intended. All of these complications build up very quickly. Thus, a facility that provides meals should score high on the list in comparison to other options that don’t.
5. No Sound Equipment
There are many facilities that make you haul your own sound equipment for your event. This may not seem like a big deal, but it can easily turn into a huge inconvenience. This is especially important if you plan on having live worship music. Music requires a great deal of equipment, but this can be minimized if the facility provides at least the basics.
Even if the music is not a factor, you still need a reliable sound system to amplify your speakers, to make announcements, to play videos, and so much more. If you are forced to bring your own equipment, it is highly probable that you would need to rent a vehicle just to haul it – which can add to your expense.
You also run the risk of damage due to weather or mere transportation, especially if the facility is far away. Once you get it there, you would have to spend extra time setting up the equipment and making sure it works. For these reasons, it is better just to choose a facility that will offer you their own sound system to use for the event.
If you measure your possible facilities by these five criteria, you should end up with a venue that is optimal for the perfect retreat. You are not simply picking a backdrop, but rather, a home for all your guests for the next few days. And choosing the right facility is the first step to making your guests feel right at home. Did you know that Christian Camp Pro offers the largest free directory of Christian retreat facilities? Find the perfect location for your next event today!
Other posts you may like:
- How to Identify Great Campgrounds for Your Event
- 5 Things to Ask Your Event Location Beforehand
- How to Plan A Christian Youth Camp: Finding the Right Location
Special thanks to Sunstream Retreat Center for making this article possible.