February 20, 2017

Update on Christian Preparedness Retreats

There was so much interest in the Christian preparedness retreat that I have an exciting update that I want to share with all of you! Many of you said that you were interested but would not be willing to drive. This led me to contemplate “what if” with Trudee, with me saying how fantastic it would be if I could do this full time and we prayed about it. The next day I was contacted by a reader who is associated with a Bible camp in Virginia and they want to host a retreat as well! This has led me to the decision to start a company offering these retreats around the country, to any Bible camp, regular camp or Church that is willing to host one.

I have a few things I really could use your help with! First; prayer! I am completely out of my depth here and trusting God to lead the way! Please pray for wisdom and that I am able to see His direction.

Second is the name, as I am stumped! Here are a few I have come up with, but I am open to suggestions.

A. Practical Readiness Retreats
B. Practical Christian Readiness Retreats
C. Christian Readiness Retreats
D. Readiness Retreats
E. Prepared Christian Retreats

I have a few thoughts here; I want to stay away from “prepper” or “preparedness” in the name, as I want the class to draw non-preppers who might be put off by “prepper” because of shows like Doomsday Preppers and the like. I try to keep everything I do rooted in the practical and I think readiness is pretty non-threatening. I go back and forth on having “Christian” in the name. I want believers to know the retreat is rooted in Christ but that will be easily distinguished by looking at the content. I also need to keep in mind what people type into the search engines or address bar when they do an internet search. I almost didn’t add option E, as I am not sure if I want to keep this completely separated or not and it has “Prepared” in the title.

The last thing I need your help with is finding other venues that may be interested in hosting a retreat. If you’re affiliated with or spend time at a Bible camp, gauge the interest and have them contact me at Chris {at} Preparedchristian {dot} net. The same goes for a church or other venue that might be interested! This is a great opportunity to bring in extra income for the camp.

My church did a one day seminar and I know others have told me their church put on a seminar or held a bible study, but many more of you have told me that your church seemed apathetic or against the idea. This is why I think a Bible camp is such a great idea! The classroom setting is great for some topics, but teaching about making fire really needs to be done outdoors.

 
 
Retreat Design

The retreats will be designed to fit the venue and attendance. If there are enough people attending, we could have as many as four classes going on at one time in breakout sessions, with everyone attending the main sessions.

This brings up an inevitable problem; missing a class that you wanted to take because you’re taking a class you wanted to attend a little more. For the time being, the only solution I have for this is to have popular classes taught multiple times, though I don’t know if this will be done either. If these retreats catches on, I could eventually offer recordings of classes available for a small fee for those who attend a retreat and possibly offer them to those who can’t attend as well.

The two camps I am working with now have both expressed interest in holding a retreat multiple times a year. I think this is a great idea because, for example, spring isn’t hunting season! Therefore, holding a class on the basics of hunting and dressing game isn’t ideal then, but in the fall it would be a great fit! The same could be said for canning, foraging and other classes as well. It also gives those who have jobs with busy seasons a chance to come when their work load is less.

To protect anonymity, I will not be maintaining attendee information after the retreat.

The layout for the weekend will contain 2-3 main sessions, and 6-8 breakout sessions. If there is enough people attending, we can have 2-3 breakout sessions going on at one time.
 
 
Price

The price will vary by venue, but a ballpark price will be $300-$500 per person; this price includes lodging and food and the usual camp entertainment activities. If you want to camp in a tent the price would be less. Some of the camps will have varying levels of cabins. The prices could reflect this with dormitory style cabins being cheaper than private 2-4 person cabins.

I am going to try and arrange it so that financial aid is available for a certain amount of guests per retreat for those who would like to attend but are on a restricted budget.

I am going to try to work with the camps to have a day pass, for those who don’t want to sleep there for whatever reason.
 
 
Instructors

Obviously, with multiple classes being taught at the same time, I will need other instructors. Some classes will require local instructors, like bee keeping and foraging for local plants. I am also hoping that I can find some high caliber instructors willing to travel with me. These instructors will be vetted by me to ensure quality of their topic and instruction. I will also be doing background checks on instructors to ensure guest safety. All instructors will be paid for their time, plus other incentives.

The vetting process is still something I am trying to work out. The easiest way would be for me to watch them teach their material; either in person or by video. However, not everyone has a youtube channel, a recording of them teaching or has taught a class like this. If anyone has any ideas, I am open to hearing them. For now, maybe a conversation by phone with all potential instructors is in order.

If you are an instructor who would like to be considered as either a local instructor or one who would be willing to fly to other locations, please send an email to instructor {at} Preparedchristian {dot} net containing:

• Your name and phone number
• Topic(s) you want to instruct on.
• If you have an example of your content, send it as well.
 
 
Vendors

I am looking for high quality vendors to showcase their products and/or services and be available to answer questions from guests. If you offer preparedness, homesteading, survival, outdoors, gardening, self-defense or other related products and/or services and would be interested in having a booth, please contact me at chris {at} Preparedchristian {dot} net.
 
 
Topics

This list is not inclusive of every topic, just what I have had time to scratch together so far. I have a lot more to add and a lot more filling in to do. However, if you see something missing, feel free to add a comment and let me know. After all, these retreats are for you. Tell me what you want to learn about! If I don’t know about it, I will try to find someone who does.
Here is a shortened outline. The full one is 10 pages so far.

These are potential for all future retreats. I am still deciding which breakout sessions will be covered for the retreat at Camp Bethel in Virginia.
 
 
Main Sessions:

Why Should I prepare and Is It Biblical?
o Taken from the free eBook I wrote. This class will cover the meat of why I started to prepare and why I believe God not only allows preparedness, but mandates it.

5 Basic Human needs part one
o Water
 How to purify
 Where to find it
 Storage
o Food
 Food storage rules
 What to store
 Building Food Storage
 Shelf life
 How to store it
 Enemies of food storage
o Medical
 OTC meds to store
 Ways to stock a small surplus of meds
 Shelf life of meds
 Veterinarian meds

5 Basic Human needs part two
o Shelter
 Some topics could be taken from “Off grid (for short term outages)”
 Duct Tape and Plastic, Really?
 Expedient nuclear shelters in the home
 Home security
• Safe rooms
• How to handle an intruder
• Harden access points
• Hardening your yard

o Energy
 Generator
 Battery bank that can be charged from a car
 Rocket mass heater
 Off grid fuels (what and how to store)
 Solar
 Wind
 Fuel Storage

o Security
 Is it Christian to practice self-defense?
 Security is a women’s responsibility too
 Willingness to use force and permission to do so
 Use of violence to stop violence
 Awareness
 Personal security
 Neighborhood security
 Personal security plans
 Family security plans
 Keeping watch after SHTF
 Building a defensive battery
 
 
Breakout Sessions

• Miscellaneous topics:
o Christians and Preparedness
o Preparedness Mindset
o Threat assessment
o Bugging out
o Off Grid (short term outages)
o Communicating during a disaster
o Staying informed now and post StuffHTF
o I am NOT a victim
o Car Safety
o When spouses don’t agree (on prepping or a firearm)
o Building a House Church
o Building a preparedness community
o Money and the future or the American Economy
o Wood Gas
o Prepper Tips
o Securing data and personal information
o Family preparedness
o Fire safety now and after SHTF

• Outdoor topics:
o Hunting
o Fishing
o Wilderness skills
o High ropes/rock climbing
o Tracking
o Archery
o Trapping
o Forestry management
o Fire building
o Permaculture (basic introduction)
o Gardening topics
o Hugelkultur
o Introduction to livestock for a homestead
o Aquaponics
o Hydroponics
o Foraging
o Bee Keeping

• Cooking:
o Butchering livestock or wild game
o Wild game recipes & cooking
o Cooking with dried foods (from food you’ve stored or purchased such as dried beans)
o Canning or pickling
o Cheese making
o Cooking with various outdoor methods
o Canning

• Medical/first aid
o General first aid
o AED
o Wilderness first aid
o Home remedies
o Colloidal silver
o Essential oils

• Self-defense:
o Situational Awareness
o Physiological changes
o Verbal de-escalation
o Martial arts
o How to escape from zip ties and duct tape
o Firearm Training
o Non-lethal self-defense
o Force on force training aka stress inoculation
o Spiritual self-defense
 
 
The First Retreat

Camp Bethel, located in Virginia will be hosting the first retreat! The tentative (fairly firm) date is June 19-23. This is father’s day weekend! What a great gift and event for father and son or daughter! Ladies don’t feel left out, you’re more than welcome as well.

I am working very hard to get things ready. Once I have the name decided upon, I will be purchasing the domain and will be using that as the source for distributing information. However, if you are interested in receiving information, you can sign up on the form below. You will only get updates on the Retreat at Camp Bethel.


 
 
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Comments

  1. Christian Patriots (It’s our duty as Christians and Patriots to be in a state of readiness) Though it might sound more political come to think of it?

  2. It might also be good to have a program that would fit in for a weekend or 3 day weekend. You could cover the Biblical reasons and a brief outline of what is needed to be prepared. Enough to get them started in the right direction.
    I would also include why it’s important as a Church to prepare together to provide mutual support with like minded individuals.

    • Chris Ray says:

      Not a bad idea for a two day retreat. the class from my eBook will cover Biblical reasons to be prepared. and the 5 basic needs will cover what they need to start.

      “I would also include why it’s important as a Church to prepare together to provide mutual support with like minded individuals.” I thought of doing a class related to this, but I had a slightly different direction, but I think I will add this to it, thanks!

  3. I will check with my church in Wells, Kansas (north of Salina, KS). They have cabins, full kitchen, training room, WIFI, shower/bathroom houses, a snack bar, and of course, the church. I know they would allow the site to be ‘rented’ so to speak. People that do not want to stay in a cabin can hotel in Salina. The driver to and from is easy. There is also a building about 2 blocks away with a kitchen and training room that can easily be used. It would be a great area for the vendors, as well as a training area. The area is extremely rural for a great sense of the ‘on your own’ feeling.

    • Chris Ray says:

      I like it!

      Let me know what they think. As far as renting, I can do that, or they can share in the profits, that would be up to them.

  4. I continue to Estote Parati as a life long motto.

    Paratus Christianus Seminars sounds good.

    P! Christian Seminars could be an alternative.

    P! Evangelical Seminars is another.

    Christian Paratus Seminars

    The faithful will know recognize and know…

  5. Grammyprepper says:

    I like Christian Readiness Retreats…I wish you best of luck in this endeavor and will pray for you…and if you are ever in our area, and I find a job or income source that we can afford it, we will be there!

    Lee

    • Chris Ray says:

      I really appreciate the prayer!

      If I am ever in your area, send me an email and we’ll see what we can do on the price.

  6. Mr. Ray,

    Expounding on Dan’s second suggestion:
    Perhaps you could have couples/individuals traveling around our nation to make one day presentations–preferably a Saturday–to various churches. You could prepare a short Bible lesson for why Christians should be prepared from 10 a.m to 11:30 am.
    then take a lunch break for about an hour and close with your outline of what is needed to be prepared from 12:30, or 1:00, til 3:00 p.m. Lunch can be provided by the church. You could also give details about your camps, i.e. when, where, how much, etc…
    My husband and I found your site this evening and since we do not believe in circumstances thought we would contact you to see if this is something we would want to be a part of. So many ideas ran through our heads upon reading today’s blog entry. We have signed up for email updates if you would like to contact us.
    Thank you

    • Chris Ray says:

      That isn’t a bad idea and is something I will consider.

      I’m so glad you found the blog, and would love to hear any of your ideas.

      I don’t know what you meant by contact, did you send me an email? If so I don’t see one and won’t be able to check again until after work tonight.

  7. As far as names goes:

    The Joseph Project (As you know God used Joseph to save an entire nation because he had Joseph store up food. Genesis 41:34-36)

    Proverbs 21:5 Readiness Retreat (You probably already know this one.)

    God bless.

  8. I have taught classes where I was required ahead of time to write a syllabus of the class, describing every step of what I was going to do, including a materials list for each person (if needed), plus all things I would bring or need to be provided to me by the group for my presentation (example–table).

  9. I like e!
    I’ll be thinking about attending a later conference-retreat.
    What an exciting adventure!

  10. How about, “Proverbs223 People”? That’s Proverbs 22:3, of course.

  11. I like the Proverbs 22:3 idea. If you are staying with your list of possible names, I would pick Christian Readiness Retreats. Another possibility would be Emergency Readiness, A Christian Perspective.

  12. I am a strong believer in Christ and getting prepared for events that appear to be unavoidable. I would like to see as many people as possible wake-up and seek out retreats like you are suggesting.

    That said, I would suggest the retreat name be a neutral, non-Christian name in order to attract as many people as possible. The description materials/ webpages should then be forthright a clearly state the retreats mission and Christ based activities that are included.

    Another suggestion: Preparedness, for new people, can be overwhelming. The information available is like drinking from a fire hose. It’s also scary for people starting out because they don’t know what they need “right now!”, let alone a year from now, or how they are going to afford the time and money.

    Your retreat activities should literally “take people by the hand and lead them” and not be just another info-dump. An expert in fire starting should research what works and provide the materials to everyone to build their own “Altoids kit” (for example). Provide the Vaseline, cotton balls, and film canisters, etc. Provide the firestorm matches, bic lighters, strikers, etc. If your bushcrafting provide them a bow saw kit. Participants need to walk away with both skills and materials.

    Include “gentle” first timer classes such as:
    – Some scenarios are scary but many are not when you are better prepared
    – Meet with a Counselor 1-on-1 to talk about your personal scenarios and plans (for ideas and validation of your work)
    – How to take small steps in your current life to become prepared
    – How to financially budget for preparedness. (counselors, 1-on-1’s, Dave Ramsey, etc)

    Of course, you must also meet the needs of your more seasoned folks to keep them moving forward; canning, bushcraft skills, HAM nets, etc.

    I think its a wonderful idea and would be willing to participate if you ever arrange something near Denver/ Colorado Springs. I teach at a local meetup group and try to focus on newbies.

    My prayers are with you.

    • Chris Ray says:

      a lot of great feedback, thank you.

      I agree on making things as hands on as possible. With some topics it’s just not possible to avoid the info dump.

      But I thinks tailoring a section to newbies is a great idea, as well as 1 on 1 session with people to go over their concerns.

      like I said, a ton of great feedback and things to think about, thank you!

  13. I like the idea of a retreat. Have you considered doing an online course for those that would have trouble getting to a retreat?

    • Chris Ray says:

      I have, but it will be down the road as I can’t afford the investment that would go into it at this time.

  14. Dare Tuitt says:

    While the training would be valuable in person, in this economy $300 – $500 seems high per person. One could use the same amount of time and research the same topics online for free, then use the $300 – $500 per person to buy the necessary prep items. Instead, why not launch a Christian Readiness Retreat online with videos of all the training? You could then monetize the site and earn extra money. As your new site increases in popularity, take one topic from your online presentations and do it live in person at prepper shows all over the country, to help market your website. Be sure to pass out a flyer or a card at each show where you do a live presentation, to drive more traffic to your website.

    • Chris Ray says:

      It seems the cost being expensive it relative. I had a few people tell me they would be willing to pay $500-$800 for a weekend and $1200 for a 5 day course.

      Being at the retreat gives people 1 on 1 time with instructors, they can ask questions about their situation and their concerns.

      Doing it online has its drawback too, but it is something I am wanting to do. I just need to figure out how to pull it off.

      • Dare Tuitt says:

        What folks say they will do and pay and what they end up doing and paying, are two different things. Prepping-related businesses must have a successful online presence as a marketing tool to help others see you as an expert. Don’t launch your new venture without putting up a website. It will be expected and people need a place for more information.

        The best model is one where the online serves to bolster the credentials of the offline presentations. The two work together but both funnel folks back to the website to get information and to buy.

        Blessings!

        • Chris Ray says:

          As soon as I pick a name I will be buying a domain and putting a site up. that will handle the booking, and disperse info.

  15. Too much for a couple and too far from the midwest. MN/WI/MI area , I would consider attending. Too far to Virginia. Christian Emergency Readiness Training Camp. Might be confusing with the CERT program though. We’ll keep watching for a meeting near us!

    • Chris Ray says:

      Vicki,

      there will be a class in Western Wis at some point, just not sure when.

      As for the cost, like i mentioned in the article, I will be working with the camps to try and arrange a “tithe” of sorts to help those who can’t afford the cost.

  16. Oh, I love, love, love the name The Joseph Project! The ultimate prepper! But, you would need a second descriptive line something like: The Joseph Project: Christian Readiness. I don’t think you need “Retreats” added to the name, because you may expand beyond retreats someday.

  17. I’ve been getting your newsletters for several months now and was really interested when I read that you want to start a Christian readiness retreat. Are you going to consider a price reduction for seniors. I will be 70 on June 4th. And just recently retired. I’ve been prepping now for 2-3 yrs with one of my daughters. The rest of the family thinks we are crazy. But God has placed it on my heart to listen to the Lord’s leading . There is so much I want to learn. Please keep me updated. I’m a young at heart great grandma willing and wanting to learn all I can. Sincerely Darlene

    • Chris Ray says:

      I am so glad to hear you started prepping, proves one is never to old, or young to start.

      Offering a discount for seniors isn’t something I have thought of, not that I am against it though; something to think about.

  18. Cool!

    I like A & B best.

    If it’s “B” maybe even leave off the “Retreats” part of the main name (assuming you’re filing it). You can toss it back up there as part of a tag line.

    B has a good rhythm without it, and leaves you room for part-day and whole-day lectures and classes, with the ability to possibly throw your hats back and forth as a firearms instructor and anything else you and-or Trudy wish to expand to in the future.

    Super happy for you!
    :)

  19. I have always disliked the word “retreat” in a Christian context. There’s an implication of losing ground. I know the real meaning is for seclusion of participants, but I still am not a fan.
    You mentioned search engines and spoke of attracting people who wouldn’t be real pro-prepping initially…my entry is: Exodus Skill Crafters/Crafting. (Preparing for a journey through the wilderness).
    So far you have many great comments.

  20. Cynthia Owens says:

    I have just found your site. PTL. My husband and I have been looking for “like-minded” preppers who are Christian. We would love to be able to attend a retreat. We live in Kansas and will definitely attend if there is one anywhere close! We will be praying for you as you follow what God has placed on your heart.

  21. Chris,

    Just finished your e-book. Very well thought through and very informative on a Christian level. As a writer myself, I know how much time and effort this must have taken you. Please know I was very blessed by it and thank you for listening to our Lord and being obedient.

    My husband and I are very new to this prepping mentality but are in full support. We live in Florida so hurricane preparedness is a must! This, however, is a lot to take in and we are feeling very over-whelmed as far as what to do first.

    A step by step approach –in my opinion–always works best. I come from an education background as well as event planning and organizing. Hubby is an EE and MBA in Business. We are both followers of Jesus Christ. If you need a couple to bounce things off of my husband and i would be interesting in speaking with you and your wife. Just not sure how to get my email to you. Do you have a FB page? If so you can friend us on FB under 3oclock Prayer Ministries.

    Thank you again and hope to hear from you soon!

    • Chris Ray says:

      Hi Lori,

      Thank you, I am glad you enjoyed the eBook.

      you’re feeling overwhelmed is very common, but I’ll do whatever I can to help relieve it.

      You both sound like people I need to talk to :)

      I sent you an, let me know when it is a good time to talk.

      Chris

  22. Dennis W says:

    Chris,

    I will pray that the Lord will bless your endeavor. I agree that it is needed and I am distressed that more Christians do not realize it. In God’s perfect timing you may just be one of the vanguards that helps gets the ball rolling. Regarding a name, consider also “The Joseph Seminars”. It avoids possible negative connotations of “retreat” and still conveys a meaningful understanding to Christians. Here are a few other thoughts:

    I believe “hands-on” training is invaluable. Some people learn a task just by reading how to do it, others need a demonstration, and still others must perform a task to learn it. But all types of learners learn best from actually doing a new task. Unfortunately, some venues may not be able to support some training, e.g., fire making or firearms marksmanship. Consider finding 4 or 5 regional training facilities that will have all the amenities you need and that may also allow you to store supplies on site between seminars to better support instruction and reduce the cost and hassle of shipping materials to each retreat location.

    Consider requiring completion of some courses via correspondence prior to the seminar so that the time allotted to practical, hands-on exercises can be maximized.

    It would be hard to design a retreat that would serve the veteran prepper and the newbie that has just awakened to the need to prepare, but has no idea where to start. You may have to decide what your initial target audience is and concentrate your efforts on them. Later you may be able to offer varying retreats for different skill levels.

    One critical subject not included on your preliminary list is sanitation. Disease spread by poor sanitation practices will kill more people than hunger, injuries, or just about any other cause. Get a copy of the Army Field Manual on Field Sanitation.

    Also, rabbits are a great source of sustainable protein. They are easy to raise, easy to breed, grow to harvestable size quickly, easy to butcher (if you can get past the emotional hurdle of killing a “bunny”), produce a very high quality meat, and their waste is terrific fertilizer for gardens. It need not be composted and can be applied directly to your garden without danger of burning the plants. Rabbits can also be raised in a stealthy manner so outsiders do not know you have them.

    If you decide to conduct a course in the Pacific Northwest, I might be able to help you find a site. I am a retired Army officer and have taught some preparedness classes in our church, so I might also be able to teach a class or two.

    • Chris Ray says:

      I appreciate the prayer!

      you listed some good additions, I can’t believe I forgot sanitation.

      I would love to do a weekend in the Pacific Northwest, I spent 3+ years in WA when in the Navy. If you can help find a location willing to host one, that would be great and I am always going to be looking for good instructors.

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