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This practical book offers pastors and lay leaders a comprehensive resource for planning faith-based retreats. In a down to earth, conversational style, Gilmore covers everything one needs to know for a successful and stress-free event.

This one-of-a-kind guide also provides 11 sample retreats centered on a creative and group-appropriate theme for:

  • women
  • men
  • youth
  • families
  • older adults
  • personal retreat

Visit where Rachel offers support in the planning process through a discussion forum. Her website also offers leads on recommended retreat facilities and suggestions for additional activities, theme ideas and more!

Editorial Reviews:

"I’ve never seen a resource more complete and more versatile, with the basic building blocks to begin right where you are today." —from the foreword by Jane Rubietta, conference speaker and critically acclaimed author of eleven books, including Come Closer: A Call to Life, Love, and Breakfast on the Beach

"Rachel Gilmore has given us an excellent how-to guide for both new and experienced retreat leaders." —William R. Myers, Director of Leadership Education (retired), The Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada

"This book not only gives a step-by-step guide for planning the nuts and bolts of a retreat, but it also presents eleven detailed and engaging designs for adult, youth and family retreats that are ready to go or easily adaptable for your own group. Pastors, church educators, youth advisors and lay leaders will especially appreciate Gilmore’s conversational style and the 'need to know' tips sprinkled throughout the pages." —The Rev. Dr. Nancy Jo Clendenin Dederer, pastor, First Presbyterian Church, Homewood, IL

"For those who have never led a retreat AND for those who have been leaders of retreats for years, the book is a wonderful resource. Thanks for the check lists that attend to every detail. The ideas for retreats are ones that I will use in my work." —Loretta Gratias-Bremer, Presbytery of Chicago

"Rachel Gilmore has given the gift of a handbook for 'the rest of us' - those who are not 'idea' people. The Complete Leader's Guide is a surefire design for a fail-proof Christian retreat - creative and biblically based. It will be an invaluable addition to any church leader's library." —Rev. Ellen Nolte Racheter, retired clergywoman, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

"Rachel Gilmore provides a detailed guide for how to conceive a vision, build a team, and create a plan for a retreat experience for the targeted individuals to come closer to God and closer together in community. Rachel’s own retreat experiences and in-depth interviews of other retreat leaders provide incredible insights, wisdom, and practical knowledge on how to pull a retreat event together. This book provides a step by step blueprint for any retreat leader to plan a powerful and effective retreat experience to reach any type of affinity group. This book would have been of great help in my early years of trial by error in pulling together my first retreat events!" —Dale Garwood, Men’s ministry leader, Granger Community Church, Granger, Indiana

"I have planned and led many retreats and often wished for a book such as this. " —Joyce Camp, American Baptist Women National Conference Coordinator

"This new resource can be a helpful addition to the libraries of camp leaders. Many congregations who come to your site for retreats need assistance in developing both plans and programs for their retreats. By making this book available or suggesting it to them, you can enrich their total retreat experience. You may want to consider listing this resource on your Web site as a way of assisting
congregations in their planning process." —Nancy Ferguson, RAC Newsletter (Religiously Affiliated Camps), Winter 2008

"As a church planter who works at connecting people to God and to one another, I know that this book will be a key resource to those who already know or who want to explore the impact retreats can make in developing community." —Rev. Jul Medenblik, Senior Pastor of New Life Church and Church Planting and Development Team Point Leader - Christian Reformed Church

"If you're asked to create a retreat for your church and you have no idea where to start, pick up The Complete Leader's Guide to Christian Retreats." —Sojourners, March 2009

"The practical ideas can refresh the seasoned retreat leader. The reproducible handouts are thoughtfully created and provide a springboard for informational and formational conversation to be deep God presence in the community of the retreatants. The section on personal retreats can assist individuals in gaining comfort and confidence in taking intentional time for interior formation through retreating. This retreat resource guide is a helpful addition to your library." —Fellowship of United Methodist Spiritual Directors and Retreat Leaders newsletter

"Rachel Gilmore has written a solid new resource for Christian retreat leaders. She covers the basics of planning and leading Christian retreats, which is very useful for persons new to retreat leadership."—Kevin Witt, Camp and Retreat Ministries, GBOD | The United Methodist Church

"Gilmore's thoroughness will allay the concerns of those who've never planned an off-site, large-group event. A priority resource for church leadership, but it's also good for a library. " —Church Libraries, Spring 2009

"This guide will help planners and leaders avoid stress and increase enjoyment for retreat participants. Recommended for retreat planners, pastors, group leaders, camp staff, and church libraries." —Congregational Libraries Today, 2009

"Rachel Gilmore has provided an extensive sourcebook for anyone planning a retreat or brief 'camp' experience." —LHP Quarterly Book Review

"Although the plentiful examples overlap a fair amount, they also present creative ideas for various age groups and populations. Additionally, the examples act as guidelines on the ebb and flow necessary to create good retreat experiences." —YouthWorker Journal, March/April 2010

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