Metamorpha’s retreat opportunities have one overall purpose: Providing space for believers to discern God’s call and to find true rest in Him. This purpose takes on two forms: First, large retreat opportunities providing space for silence, solitude, group spiritual direction and reflection. Each retreat has a developmental focus, building upon one another to help form a thoughtful, biblical and evangelical understanding of the Christian life. Second, we provide smaller retreat opportunities for pastors and ministry leaders. This space provides an environment of safety and relational connection often missing in the lives of pastors and leaders. These retreats focus specifically on caring for one’s own soul as a leader and leading by the Spirit rather than by natural ability. Ultimately, much of what we desire for pastors and leaders is to provide space for rest and to minister to those who often receive little spiritual care.
“The Metamorpha retreat was like a “Stream through the Desert” — refreshment for the soul. A great time to connect with God through the guideddevotions, and be with other like-minded people for this full day experience. I totally recommend the Metamorpha experience.”
“The unity of His Spirit among our hearts was refreshing. When we spent time together decompressing and sharing our hearts there was an instant safely and trust.”
“I was seen, known, and loved. I was refreshed and renewed.”
Retreat Frequently Asked Questions
Why are retreats important for the Christian life?
The idea of taking a retreat is, without question, foreign to our culture (North American). We live in a society which heralds entertainment and has found a way to ensure that any potential silence or solitude is stamped out by noise (television, radio, etc.). Culturally, we define and identify ourselves based on what we do or accomplish. We are a people on the go, constantly accomplishing, fixing and getting things done. Our Christian culture, furthermore, has been seduced by these values of entertainment and busyness. We find ourselves approaching church as though it is simply entertainment intended to capture our attention and keep us excited. Our busyness is perhaps marked by better things, namely the work of the kingdom, but nonetheless our identity is largely defined by what we do. Consequently, we have come to believe that the Christian life is primarily about being good for God and doing good for God. Retreat then, in short, is a move against this secularism to carve out space to devote oneself fully to the ever-present God.
Admittedly, the idea of “retreat” is not completely foreign to our Christian culture. We have men’s retreats, women’s retreats, youth group retreats, etc. We recognize the value in getting away. However, the way we do retreat is often still informed by worldly understandings of the Christian life. These retreats are usually tightly scheduled and action packed. We hear several speakers, push people through carefully and strategically delineated programming, we have games, etc. Rarely, in our church retreats do we have real space. Silence and solitude are still not embraced even on retreat. We see retreats as an opportunity to reignite the faith that seems stagnant or learn something new about God. We are looking for the experience that will change the tide of our relationship with God, or that new idea that will make sense of the Christian life finally. In the end, retreats themselves are often more tiring than the busy lives we left behind to rest in God.
We need to embrace this belief that retreats are an important part of the Christian life, but also need to re-frame our hopes and expectations about what these retreats are actually for. When Metamorpha talks about retreats, we fundamentally mean resting in God. Rather than focusing on information or trying to make a particular experience happen, we believe a retreat is an opportunity to open our heart deeply to God and allow Him to move in whatever way He wills. We believe this is a vitally important aspect of the Christian life, one that has been grasped by believers throughout history until today. More poignantly, we believe it has particular importance today because of our how our culture has so fully adopted worldly values. We are so distracted and busy that we need intentional space to open our heart to God without the clutter and frenzy of our daily routine. Quite simply: We need space; space to listen to God and space to listen to our own hearts. Even Jesus recognized the importance of this in his own life. We encounter multiple scenes throughout Jesus’ life and ministry where he retreated from the busyness around him. Jesus recognized that amidst all of the demands, needs and voices surrounding Him, He needed to intentionally carve out space to be with the Father:
“In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there.” (Mark 1:35, NASB)
“Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side to Bethsaida, while He Himself was sending the crowd away. After bidding them farewell, He left for the mountain to pray.” (Mark 6:45-46, NASB)
Within the demands of ministry Jesus recognized the need for retreat. It is interesting to note that retreating seemed to a rhythm Jesus developed for his life in ministry. It wasn’t an aberration or a one time thing (for example, take the Garden of Gethsemane). The resting was intimately connected with the doing, so that in the doing He would remain rested in the Father.
Surely, Jesus is our model. Just like Jesus, our world spins with demands, expectations and needs. Not that these are all bad, but if we are not careful the noise and action of our world will dominate the way we live, and will, in the long run, shape our identity. Intentionally retreating is a means of re-anchoring ourselves in Christ as those adopted by the Father and sealed by the Holy Spirit, so that we might return to the world with hearts rested in our Creator and Redeemer.
How do I know if it is a good time for me to go on retreat?
Quite simply, if there is a desire to go on retreat then one should probably strongly consider doing so. We encourage you to take time in prayer to discern your reasons for wanting to go on retreat. What sparked the longing? What is it about a retreat that sounds valuable in this season of life? What has God been doing in this particular season of your life? Are there any potential unhealthy motivators for going on retreat (See temptations below)? These are all excellent questions to ponder in prayer as you discern whether this is a good time for you to take a retreat. We also encourage you to seek the wisdom of others in your process of discernment. Take time to consult with a spiritual director, meet with a mentor or talk with your pastor about whether this is a good time for you to go on retreat. If you are not inclined to go on a retreat, this may be a more definite clue that you should start pursuing some of these forms of discernment as well. A desire not to carve out space to focus on God is often a sure sign that a very worldly rhythm of life has overtaken your heart.
Importantly, one other thing to consider when deciding if you should go on retreat is what kind of retreat to do. This decision may largely be dictated by your life circumstances. Fortunately, there are many kinds of retreats. Metamorpha seeks to offer a variety of retreat opportunities, and supports other ministries that provide a spectrum of retreat options (for example, there are day retreats, weekend retreats, retreats in daily life, creative retreats, silent retreats, nature retreats, and so on).
What are temptations in going on retreat?
There are a various temptations when going on retreat and with each person these play out uniquely. That said, we think it is important here to highlight what some of those can be. Importantly, even though we may be approaching a retreat from a place of unhealthy motivation, this does not negate the value of the retreat, but is important to be aware of so you can approach your time with the Lord in honesty. Below are a few common temptations, but certainly not an exhaustive list. These are intended to be helpful in discerning one’s heart in approaching retreat and to bring this truth before the Lord in prayer. It can be very helpful to be aware of these temptations while on the retreat so that you can continue to center your heart on what God desires for your time. The reality that our virtuous choices can be mixed with vice should not be surprising, for this is the reality of living in the already/but not yet kingdom of God.
1) The temptation to go on retreat as a means to quickly “fix” a deficit/problem or to assuage one’s guilt for not spending time with God more regularly. At its core this temptation is grounded in the desire for autonomy. This is the belief that I can grow or fix or change myself in one’s own self-power. Rather, as Christians, our calling is to depend fully on God in Christ, and therefore a response of autonomy is akin to spiritual idolatry. Rather than fixing these things on a retreat, our focus will be to enter into communion with God as the one who seeks autonomy – as you truly are – so that you can rest in who God truly is.
2) To use retreat as a way of escaping one’s everyday life with family or friends. This means that we must be careful not to take retreat as a means of escaping our relational difficulties. Many are tempted to leave conversations when the conflict gets too difficult or uncomfortable, or even to remove oneself completely from a relationship if things get messy. This same unhealthy reaction to relational difficulty can be the motivation for our spiritual retreat.
3) To put God to the test on retreat. This temptation may tease itself out in a statement like, “God, I have taken the time out, now you need to show up and do something.” Or, thinking that because I have done something “super spiritual” I am going to guarantee a certain kind of outcome or response from God. This is related to the belief that I have power over God’s will based on what I do, ultimately it is “works righteousness spirituality.”
4) Related to the previous temptation is the temptation for grandiosity. This means I am tempted to think I should receive a vision or have a “super spiritual” experience because I am on a retreat. This is dangerous because it often causes the individual to gloss over the things God is doing. If one is constantly comparing their experience to that of others, or constantly weighing their experience against what he / she expect, they will most likely be disappointed and miss out on what God is actually doing on their retreat (even if, or maybe especially if, what God is doing does not fit into our preconceived notions about God’s action – such as God working in his silence).
5) The last temptation people use as an unhealthy motivation to go on retreat is an avoidance of experiencing the truth of themselves. On retreat one can experience their lack of care for God, or one’s desire to find love in other places/things that now have been taken away. Our sin is often experienced in full color on retreat. It can be tempting to avoid these things and stay focused on reading our Bible, practicing specific prayers, etc. and never truly opening to what God is bringing up in the midst of that.
What can I expect from a Metamorpha retreat?
Metamorpha retreats are designed to provide three things with excellence: content, space, and community.
We desire to provide excellent and succinct content. A Metamorpha retreat is not a conference, nor is it speaker / programming driven. Our desire is to provide sound, biblical saturated structure to your retreat, based around a specific topic or theme (see our Virtue Retreat Series as an example). In other words, our content exists to serve your quiet time with God and not the other way around.
Furthermore, we desire to provide space. We are intentional about scheduling open space in the retreat for you to use at your discretion, and provide opportunities for personal spiritual direction (should that be something that is helpful for you). This is not the densely scheduled, activity driven, retreat model that is used at most churches, but is aimed at being with God.
Finally, We desire to provide community. Retreat experiences can be powerful, but all the more so when shared in a safe, supportive community. We believe you are coming on retreat to receive from God, but also from others, and we help facilitate that community.
Who goes on Metamorpha retreats?
In short, whomever the Holy Spirit brings. The Metamorpha team constantly prays that God would bring those that He wills. In this regard we are always pleasantly surprised by the wide spectrum of folks that do participate in our ministry. Men and women, young and old, seasoned believers and young Christians. Our retreats are intentionally intimate and communal so that we can be “with” people wherever they are. We recognize that each person who comes on retreat is in a unique place in his or her own journey with the Lord, and so while we have a framework we are working with on each retreat we are intentional to provide enough space for each person to walk with God where they are.
How do I pay for a Metamorpha retreat?
Metamorpha has made registration as easy as possible. Simply click on the specific retreat you wish to attend on the retreat homepage at metamorpha.com and follow the steps. Payment may be currently made through PayPal.
What is provided in the retreat cost?
The listed price of each retreat covers everything you need. This means that both the pragmatic and programmatic elements of the retreat are included. On the pragmatic side the cost of the retreat covers your room and board (all meals are provided). On the programmatic side the cost of the retreat covers supervision and guidance by Metamorpha team members, spiritual direction and spiritual exercises offered on the retreat. In short, once you have paid for the retreat their are no other surprise costs.
What is the training of those leading the retreats?
The Metamorpha team has extensive education and experience in developing and leading retreats. The theological education of our team is brought to bear on the shaping of each retreat experience. Our retreat leaders also have specific training in spiritual direction, which is incorporated into our retreat experiences.
What should I bring?
This may depend upon the particular retreat you are attending. However, a few general suggestions are worth noting. First, we encourage you to bring a Bible and a journal. On a Metamorpha Retreat you will be encouraged to spend time in Scripture and time reflecting on what God is doing. Second, we encourage you to bring a variety of clothing that will allow you to be comfortable during the day and at night. Lastly, you will want to bring a towel, toiletries and other items that will be needed for an over night stay. Specific information about bedding will be provided for you after registering for the retreat. In some cases, bedding is provided, and in others not.
It would be a mistake to talk about what to bring without briefly mentioning what not to bring. While we realize you may need to remain in contact with the “outside world,” we encourage you to bring as few items of distraction as possible. Part of the retreat experience is creating space that you do not normally have to listen to God, and so we encourage you to be wary of bringing i-pods, computers, magazines and books. Please know we will not monitor this in any way, but merely offer it as a suggestion so that you may fully enter into the retreat experience. In closing, we do require retreatants to attend without alcohol, drugs or weapons in their possession.