Regardless of what kind of organization leads it, every retreat has a few goals: relaxing, inspiring, and brainstorming. For youth groups and focus ministries, though, the emphasis on God allows for a wider experience, so even fellowship can manifest at a Christian camp retreat.
Pastors and Bible study leaders know that community is one of the most difficult elements of the Body of Christ to create. Congregants and attendees work in completely distinct careers, live in separate neighborhoods, and enter the church or study at varying stages of life. Potluck dinners used to be a staple of Christian community, but social schedules are tighter these days, and many young people have no access to a kitchen to cook. It seems paradoxical, then, to ask people to reserve a whole weekend for a Christian camp retreat, but many are more willing than expected—and the communal yield is often more profitable than a dozen potluck dinners.
Isolated by the wilderness, Christian retreats only allow communion between fellow attendees and God. With divergent personalities this might sound like a recipe for disaster, but the reality is that within a single evening, friendships can form stronger than a year of working together, or living beside each other. The seclusion fosters it beautifully, and when the whole weekend is focused first and foremost on God or the Bible, differences melt, and people recognize that they do have the most important things in common. It works best with a larger crowd, eager to be there, so to encourage attendance a wise promotion is the simple recommendation of a past attendee. Almost anyone who’s been to a Christian camp retreat remains an advocate of them for life.