How To Plan A Great Men’s Retreat

If you have ever been responsible for planning a retreat and getting men to show up at it, you know how painful it can be. If men applied half the effort to attend as they do to avoiding your requests to come, you know you could fill an entire camp.

Over the years I have found some small solutions that yield significant results.

First | Plan Ahead

Last minute men’s retreats will prevent guys from coming. Instead, give your men several months’ notice so they can adjust family and work calendars appropriately. Make sure to avoid obvious holidays like Mother’s Day and known calendar conflicts specific to your context.

Second | Gather Support

Your pastor and church need to be behind the retreat. Promotion through the sermon and church communication will drive men to attend. Also, find the trusted, well-liked men and get them excited and committed to participate. Guys will be more likely to engage if personally invited by another man. Help yourself by finding men recruit for you.

Third | The Right Structure  

As a rule of thumb, no more than two large group sessions per full day. For most weekend retreats, the correct number is four. During those meetings allow for men to interact with each other. Worship with a group of men can be powerful and be moving. Downtime to talk and bond together is of particular importance for processing after large group meetings.

Fourth | The Rally Point

Having a rallying point is extremely important for men to create shared meaning on a retreat. Many camps would gladly feed a group of men coming to help erect a prayer chapel or paint the youth cabins. You could also infuse a sporting event or wilderness adventure with great results. Cast a vision and rally men together.

Fifth | The Topic

Finally, pick a topic and find a story that resonates with men. Teaching is good, but a compelling story centered on the truth of God’s Word is best. Find a communicator that can get men to look deeply into Scripture and a curriculum that will get men talking about it together. The Word of God is the most important catalyst to seeing men’s heart’s changed.

If you are looking for material for your men’s group or are looking for help with your small group leadership, reach out to us a or send us an email at

Dave Mergens is a sincere and passionate leader who loves to communicate to men and has a deep passion for God’s Word. He has led hundreds of men in both events and small group settings. He oversees the training and support of men’s leaders and churches connected to Resolute.