You may be tempted to stop reading after the words “family retreat”. Don’t stop now! In this post, we’ll talk about why you should consider doing a retreat with your family. Welcome to the table.
Question: Do you feel like you and your family are too busy?
Over at they Father On Purpose community, Kent asked a great question for us dads: Are you too busy?!
Kent continued, “is your family running a crazy speed through life? You and your wife are crossing paths in the driveway — you toss one kid to her as she passes bags of groceries to you. Does that sound like your house?” Oh man, sounds like Kent’s been living with my family!
One way Kent’s family tries to counterbalance all of the busyness is with an annual family retreat. Here’s my deal: I’ve known and worked with Kent for years now. I’ve sat around his kitchen table with his family. He understands the value of setting aside time as a family and coming together. Kent’s coaching guys in the Father On Purpose community through the why, how’s, and what’s of all things annual family retreats. So, I thought I’d give you a sneak peek at what Kent’s covering over there. My hope in sharing this is it’ll help orient you and light a fire under you to do one for your family. Let’s rock and roll…
“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there among them.” —Matthew 18:20
What the Bible says about a family retreat?
Okay, well, the words “family retreat” aren’t in the Bible. Or are they?! We have Matthew 18:19-20 which says:
“Again, truly I tell you, if two of you on earth agree about any matter that you pray for,
it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.
For where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there among them.”
Kind of sounds like a family retreat huh?! In this text, Matthew’s telling stories about Jesus. He’s talking about what Jesus taught about prayer. But, the bigger discourse, looking back over chapter 18 in Matthew is of relationships – if you recall — the disciples asked Jesus “who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
Here’s why we’re talking about this passage now. It’s about relationships, love, gathering together, church discipline, and so forth. One commentary points out “agree” is from sumphoneo (literally, “sound out together”), meaning “harmonize.” The idea is to ask or pray and make your request known to God with support of others around you.
Here’s the deal. I have no issue with biblical fatherhood meaning a dad is called to lead as the shepherd who sacrifices for his sheep. I love how Dr. Russell Moore talks in The Storm-Tossed Family. He explains that “Family is spiritual warfare.” He continues:
If the Scriptures are right, then ancient cultures were right that there are invisible and hostile powers afoot in the cosmos, and these powers rage against the picture of the gospel, wherever it is found, because the gospel is a sign of the end of their reign, of the crushing of their heads.
Yes, you’re busy. We get it. We’re in this fight with you. But understand, we aren’t just fighting busyness. We’re fighting the enemy of darkness. Make no mistake, family is where your kids will learn to take out the trash as well as how to pray.
It’s vital we give our kids an example to follow. One that intentionally leads. One that takes time to plan and purpose for His good will. One that points to God in all things. If you don’t do it—who will?
For these reasons, I don’t think it’s crazy to equate family and church. The Scripture in Matthew applies to our families more than we might think at first. It’s time we come together in God’s name and make intentional spiritual investments.
Don’t forget, how you are fathering is and will shape your child’s formation of God. I beg the question: are you absent or present? are you distant or near? Point your kids to God with your very life. This is the task God has given you.
If I’ve learned anything recently, I’ve learned that the devil isn’t around simply to “tempt” us. No, think about it. The devil’s goal is not to tempt us—but to adopt us. But thankfully, as Dr. Moore says, “The angels of death could lurk around outside the house all they wished, but the blood was on the doorpost, and all would be well.”
You can do this dad. Not because you’re so great and awesome—sorry! You can do this because God is great and awesome. We’ll talk more about retreats in the next couple of weeks. Will you at least give it at shot? The world is there for the taking. Show your kids something different, something more difficult, something better.
For now, understand this, if you feel tossed around and too busy, a retreat could be the thing you need to do in order to get back to basics and have a more intentional year with your family. What follows is a framework you can use with your family and a mission to complete before we meet again next week right here on this blog!
Free download > Six-Step Family Retreat Framework
Here’s a quick sneak peek to the 6-part model Kent uses for the Evans family. Review it and keep it on hand. You’ll want to let it guide you after we’ve talked over the next couple of weeks:
- STUDY: focus on something biblical and relevant to your family
- PAUSE: unplug from technology and the “outside world” for a time
- PRAY: spend time individually and together praying as a family
- PLAY: give yourself ample time to play games or enjoy the outdoors
- PLAN: use the time to think ahead and set goals for the coming year
- PRAISE: play worship music and conduct a “Sunday service”
Download a quick sneak peek of the Six-Step Framework.
Family retreat: the mission
This weeks’ mission: have the conversation with you wife about a retreat! Yes, ask your wife. Complete this task in the next few days—before we post again next week. Just say something to your wife like: “Hey, what if we did a family retreat?!” and see where it leads. We’ll be back next week talking about the WHAT—as in—what’s included in doing a retreat with your family.
Would you do us a favor?
Like, comment, share this mission on facebook. Help us spread the word about stopping the busyness, having a retreat, and becoming a father on purpose.