Retreat from What?


By Royce Rose, BGCT director of theological education

Growing up Baptist in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s (okay, I am still growing up), retreats were a staple means of, well, retreating.  Baptists weren’t big on reflection in our normal activity packed church schedules and content and action focused programs…worship, Bible Study, missions.  We were pretty much a “breathing-out people” more than a “breathing-in people.”  For us Acts 1:8b was possible without Acts 1:8a. 

It was in retreats that I had time to think, to reflect, to ask questions.  God always spoke to me at retreats, whether as a participant or a leader; they were special times in my journey, major markers of discoveries and commitments.

I have been drawn back a number of times to retreats at Laity Lodge in the Texas Hill Country, a gift to the spiritual growth of the laity from the Howard E. Butt Foundation.  Because I am in the middle of planning a Laity Institute retreat this August, I am even more drawn to my retreat experiences in that special place.  I started dating my wife of 40 years during a Christmas retreat in ’65 and made decisions about turning my life back toward Christ after watching “In His Steps.”

The impact of retreats at Laity Lodge during Baptist Laity Institute retreats over the past few years has been equally significant.  God has renewed in me a passion for the ministry of the laity, a powerful ministry often lost in our collective Baptist mind.  I have recalled the passion I had 25 years ago that caused me to take a “road less traveled” in my ministry journey.

As I began to plan with retreat leaders Gordon and Jeanene Atkinson (, Gordon asked, “What is the radical idea?”  The radical idea is that the calling of every Christian is a sacred calling and the most important callings, vocations, are lived out in the secular world by the men and women who God has called and gifted for just such salt and light work in the world.

So I am hoping for retreat…from the daily routine…for time to think…to reflect…to hear from God through those who show up and share their sacred callings.  I am anxious to be a “breath-in” Baptist.

Every one’s invited…to retreat.

What have retreats meant to you?

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2 Responses to “Retreat from What?”

  1. Mark Goodyear Says:

    I love retreats too. But honestly, I don’t get to take them very often. This weekend was an exception–since I went to Gordon’s Franciscan Retreat in San Antonio.

    Howard Butt often says, “We retreat to advance.” And I think I’m slowly learning what he means. If we don’t stay centered, we lose focus and productivity. Not that increased productivity is the reason we retreat!

    (2 months ago, Laity Lodge sponsored a group writing project about the importance of retreats. You might enjoy browsing some of the posts.)

  2. Royce Rose Says:

    Mark, glad you got to Covenant’s retreat. I have followed Gordon’s reports on them and know it was an enriching experience. I read a number of the retreat posts on TheHighCalling. I have great hopes for our time in August.

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