As an team building exercise on our staff leadership team retreat we decided to change a tire on John's van... Actually we had a flat tire on the way home today. All worked out well and we had AAA as a back-up if needed. And we did use some good teamwork...
Every year around this time we take Sunday afternoon through Wednesday noon to begin our strategic planning process for the year (our "ministry year" begins in September). We shoot to have our plan complete by June for the Board to approve, ask for revisions, etc.
Typically, before our retreat, we gather data. This year we conducted several surveys--all church, youth parents and children's parents. Two years ago we conducted four or five input sessions with several groups--small group leaders and coaches, Board and Elders, worship arts folks, youth and children's leaders. At our retreat we review and evaluate progress on our strategic initiatives (we do a three-year plan simply update it each year), hold strategy sessions and formulate new initiatives. After the retreat our various teams, under the direction of the staff leadership team members, formulate their strategic plans and calendar for the year. This process, and variations of it, has served us well over the years. We're really big on alignment and this helps minimize silos.
At the retreat we typically pray for each other and have some fun down time. David brought a new dimension this year by bringing his X-Box 360. We always watch movies at night, but now we slip in a few games on the X-Box when we get a chance.
For the last four or five years we've used the cabin of one of our members out in WI, toward Rice Lake. It's a beautiful setting, super comfortable and roomy. We are very blessed by their generosity.