A Time Apart

Preaching and Worship Planning Retreat

Jesus took time away for prayer and silence before proclaiming to the crowds. Set aside time to feed your spiritual life in a retreat setting with other colleagues and create long range plans for worship and preaching for your congregation/s. 

Each week pastors face the humbling and awesome task of preparing worship and a sermon that touches the lives of worshippers in our congregations. Our perplexing and difficult times call for authentic worship and preaching that speaks to people and helps all of us encounter Christ. Yet, the daily demands of ministry often keep us away from putting as much time as we would like into sermon and worship preparation, and especially into long range worship planning. If we can get away to create long range plans in a retreat setting, we can be more aware of how the Spirit is directing us and prepare worship and sermons that allow the congregation to discover the Holy and be strengthened to serve in Jesus’ name.

  • Participants can plan worship and preaching for six months to a year in a retreat setting. 
  • Blocks of time for planning, spiritual renewal, and rest.
  • Select from opportunities for morning and evening prayer.
  • Optional seminars on a variety of topics such as preaching in a divided congregation, creative ideas for different seasons of the church year, and developing sensory rich worship for all ages. 
  • All participants will receive handouts on topics whether or not they participate in the sessions.
  • Brainstorm and bounce ideas off colleagues and the retreat leader and/or plan alone.
  • Consultation and feedback options on preaching, worship, and planning from colleagues and a consultant.
  • Participants may preach short sermon with supportive and constructive feedback facilitated by an experienced leader.
  • Participants will decide upon the schedule and topics in the opening sessions, but the rough schedule will be:
    • Breakfast
    • Morning Prayer (optional)
    • Morning Seminars on Topics (optional)
    • Lunch
    • Afternoon time for planning, rest, and spiritual renewal
    • Dinner
    • Evening Prayer (optional)
    • Feedback on Preaching (optional)
  • Learning from Comedians, TED talks, and others (optional)
Who is it For?
  • For any pastor interested in long range worship and preaching planning in a retreat setting with other colleagues.
  • For experienced pastors and those in their first years of ministry who want to enhance their gifts in preaching and worship leadership.
  • For manuscript preachers and those who never write out their sermons; for lectionary preachers and topical preachers; because each person can strengthen his or her own style, no matter what form or preparation process he or she uses.
  • For solo pastors, or pastors of churches with multiple clergy. Large churches with more than one clergy can come as a team and plan worship and preaching together.

It is recommended that participants have either completed seminary or 1/3 of their Course of Study, and have two or more years of experience.

Week One
Monday, June 10 (8 p.m.) - Friday, June 14 (2 p.m. with option to stay until 5 p.m.)
St. Benedict, Schuyler, Nebraska

Week Two
Sunday, June 16 (8 p.m.)-Thursday, June 20 (2 p.m. with option to stay until 5 p.m.)
Spiritual Life Center, Wichita, Kansas

Cost for either week is $150 (includes lodging and meals), if registered by April 1. Cost is $200 after March 15. Space is limited, so register early!

Participants may arrive early or stay for a longer time by making arrangements directly with the retreat center.

Here’s what participants said about The Time Apart Retreat in 2018:

“I am so thankful for this opportunity. It enriches and enhances my ministry in so many ways. “

“To be in worship and trusted community was precious! A plethora of resources and worship series that have sparked in me new energy!”

“The topic discussions were very fruitful and informative. Brainstorming truly engaged us and brought incredible resources for the group. I felt that the morning engaged me and powered me for a full afternoon of productivity.”

“Well done. Enjoyed and benefitted from the experience.”

“I really appreciated the rhythm I was able to set for myself of prayer, planning and self-care. I want to figure out how to take this rhythm with me.

“I loved it from Sunday eve all the way through.”

Guest facilitator:

Theresa Mason is a retired Great Plains elder who has been a pastor of large and small churches in Nebraska and California. Dr. Mason was chaplain of Hamline University, and Associate Professor in the religion department, and was a visiting instructor at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities. She has a M.Div. and D. Min. from Claremont School of Theology, and a Ph.D. in theatre arts from University of Oregon. She has been leading seminars on worship, preaching and other arts for many years, including “A Time Apart” and the Great Plains TiM sermon and worship planning retreat. Currently, she is the director of Earthen Pot Ministries, in St. Paul, Minnesota, offering workshops, retreats, consultation and guest leadership in preaching, worship and the arts.