In an age when vacationers on pleasure cruises can expect to be on tightly planned and pressure-packed schedules, a restful renewal seems alien. ""I will give you rest,"" Jesus said (Matt. 11:28). The Bible places a strong emphasis on Sabbath time. Experiencing solitude, play and life at a slower rhythm are precious pathways that allow God to nurture our souls. Retreats have the special focus that offer personal growth as participants are guided to look at life and the world with God in mind. Forty percent of church members and pastors polled report having a significant spiritual experience through a church retreat or camp experience. Yet, pastors are hard-pressed to tackle the details required to plan these ""times away."" Ferguson and Witt have written a practical guide covering the nuts and bolts of planning the budget, picking a site and organizing Bible studies - all to make the experience meaningful for all ages. Going beyond the usual collections of suggested activities and formats, The Retreat Leader's Manual provides a solid base for faith formation in retreats. Ferguson and Witt offer a thoughtful exploration of the need and biblical precedent for spiritual retreats. ""Spiritual retreats tap into a universal human desire,"" write the authors. ""They serve as an oasis for the soul... The unabashed aim of faith-based retreats is helping persons seek God with their whole heart."" As one reviewer says, ""If your congregation doesn't already go on retreat, this book will help you realize what you're missing. And if you already know the value of regular retreats, The Retreat Leader's Manual will help make your next retreat better than ever!
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Nancy Ferguson is a Presbyterian minister and educator with more than 30 years of experience leading retreats and camps. In her work as an outdoor ministry consultant and freelance writer, she produces resources for camps and congregations. Ferguson holds degrees from Union Theological Seminary and the Presbyterian School of Christian Education. She has been a pastor and a full-time camp director. Ferguson lives on the eastern shore of Virginia near Chincoteague Island.
Kevin Witt serves on staff with the General Board of Discipleship of The United Methodist Church. He works with camp and retreat leaders across the denomination and ecumenically. He is deeply committed to help local church and camp and retreat center leaders connect deeply with God and to provide experiences for guests, participants and staff that truly express the core of Christian camp and retreat experiences. He provides training, consultation and crucial networking related to the wide variety of faith formation and operational roles required of spiritual leaders within this specialized ministry. Kevin is co-author of Twists of Faith and participated on the collaborative teams that established professional Certification in Camp and Retreat Ministries and the 7 Foundations of UM Camp and Retreat Ministry.
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