About Retreats

Retreat info

The first step in the Dawnings process is participation in a Dawnings Introductory Retreat. A small group of leaders from your church gathers with the leaders of other churches to get an in-depth look at the Dawnings process and begin to experience the approaches it offers.

Multiple retreat opportunities are offered each year. Space is limited so sign up early.


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Frequently Asked Questions


How much is the cost for a church to participate in a Dawnings Retreat?

Retreats are FREE. Presently, through a generous grant from an anonymous CBF supporter, churches desiring to bring a leadership team to a regional Dawnings Retreat can do so for free. The church or the individual attending the retreat is responsible only for travel to and from the retreat, for meals on the road and for breakfast each day (often the hotel or retreat center will provide complimentary breakfast). CBF covers the cost of everything else – the accommodation/hotel expenses, lunches & dinners, and conference expenses such as materials, retreat journals, etc.


How do participants arrange for hotel accommodations?

CBF will book a block of rooms at the hotel. The local contact will communicate to CBF which churches will be attending, the number from each church, and the names and email addresses of the attendees. CBF will cover the cost of up to four double-occupied rooms per church. So a maximum of 8 people per church can attend at no charge (up to 12 if it is a local church that won’t need hotel accommodations). If a church desires to bring more than 8, then the church or individual covers the expense of the extra room(s). If a church or individual cancels a room after the hotel deadline and a “no-show” fee is incurred, then the church or individual will be asked to cover that fee.


What about the meals?

Breakfast each morning is the responsibility of the individual or church. Many hotels have complimentary breakfast. Lunches and dinners are catered into the church by local vendors. These are paid for by CBF. CBF will pay for the meals of all attending retreat participants. So if a church brings 12 people to the retreat CBF covers all meal costs. You will need to communicate with the local contact and CBF if you have special food needs. Normally, a vegetarian option can be accommodated but other food needs would be the responsibility of the individual.


What is the retreat schedule and do I need to be there for all of it?

The retreat begins at 1:30pm on Thursday and concludes at 11:30am on Saturday? Dawnings is an experiential process and not a program. Therefore the retreat provides the time for the individual and church group to experience Dawnings as well as learn the process. Each session/experience builds upon the other so complete and faithful attendance is preferred. Dawnings is much like worship. Just knowing the chorus to the song, premise of the sermon and highlight to the prayer doesn’t mean you worshipped. You never know where God shows up and God shows up most often when we give our time and do so within community. This is the Dawnings Retreat rhythm.


What does the host church need to provide?

The host church needs to designate a local liaison to be the point person with CBF in the use of the facility and help with choosing restaurants or caterers for meals, as well as hotel suggestions. The church is asked to have a comfortable spacious room that can be designated for the entirety of the retreat. Tables (round preferred) and chairs need to be placed in the room – normally one table per church attending with three additional tables. The church is asked to provide in this room a screen, projector, and sound system with microphone and speakers. Internet is helpful but not mandatory. The church point person is asked to facilitate the hired caterers entry, set up and egress from the church. Ideally a room separate or partitioned off from the retreat area is needed for meals. The caterer can then set up without interrupting the retreat. Tables and chairs in the designated eating area are needed. The church is asked, if possible, to provide morning beverages and nibbles (Friday and Saturday) and afternoon beverage and nibbles (Thursday and Friday). These are simple things like coffee, iced tea, water, breakfast bars, fruit, chips, cookies, chips, candy etc. Sometimes these are homemade by the church and other times they purchased. The point person would facilitate the snacks and snack set up.


What is expected of a church who attends a retreat?

Each church is asked to pray and discern if Dawnings is a process that would benefit their church by focusing on the part of God’s Kingdom in which they minister. There is NO expectation that the church must say, “yes.” Most do, some do not, and some say, “yes and we’ll start in 3-5 months.” If a church does say “yes,” then over the course of the following weeks/month, CBF works with the pastor/key leader to understand the 10 session Congregational Design Process that a recruited Church Dawnings Team would go through. CBF will provide and pay for a trained Dawnings coach to work alongside the pastor/key leader by phone to craft, debrief and facilitate each session.


Who should I bring to the retreat?

People who are asked to come to the retreat most often form the core of a later recruited Dawnings Team at the church, if the church decides to enter the Congregational Design Phase. Therefore those coming to the retreat and those possibly later recruited need to eventually encompass these qualities:

  • people who have a life wish for the church;
  • a visionary desire to make a difference in God’s kingdom;
  • are supportive of the church and staff;
  • don’t have a personal agenda item that they cannot be non-anxious about;
  • have a commitment to group discernment.

Do not place people on the team just because of their position within the church. At the same time there need to be:

  • people of influence on the team (those who people listen to when they speak);
  • both long standing members, as well as new members;
  • representatives of each adult generation in the church.

These are not exhaustive qualities but can provide a beginning as to who might make a good retreat and Congregation Design participant.


We certainly hope this at least begins to answer your questions. It may even spark more questions. Please don’t hesitate to contact Harry Rowland with any additional questions at hrowland@thefelllowship.info.

Typical Retreat Schedule



1:30pm    Introduction to Dawnings

3:30pm    Session 1: The Way of Discernment

5:30pm    Dinner

6:30pm    Fellowship & Evening Vespers



7:30am    Breakfast at hotel

8:30am    Morning Prayers

9:00am    Session 2: Exploring Vision

11:30am    Mid-day Prayers & Lunch

12:30pm    Session 3: Exploring Formation

3:30pm    Session 4: Exploring Engagement

5:30pm    Dinner

6:30pm    Evening Vespers



7:30am    Breakfast

8:30am    Morning Prayers

9:00am    Session 5: Embracing the Dawn

11:45am    Conclude & Adjourn

Upcoming Dawnings Retreats

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