How to run a successful wellbeing weekend – ten steps

Jo Lorimer, Pioneer Ordinand in the parish of Warblington with Emsworth, in Hampshire, hosted a successful Wellbeing Weekend and offers her ten tips for other parishes wanting to try it out.


  1. Network and find out what Christian sport and wellbeing support is available in your area and nationally.  We had excellent introductions and support from Rev Natalie Andrews, the Church of England’s project Lead for Sport & Wellbeing - she even came and led some sections and preached at the Sunday service. Scripture Union Mission Through Sport and the Salvation Army Sport and Exercise are also great contacts. Our congregation enjoyed meeting new people and hearing different perspectives.
  2. Plan the content – Scripture-themed content really works, for eg: “Fearfully and Wonderfully Made” Psalm 139 or we used “[She] is clothed in dignity and strength and laughs without fear of the future” Proverbs 33:3. We are made in the image of God – body, mind and spirit - so a wellbeing weekend is an opportunity to focus on all aspects of wellbeing, not just one area. It gives us a lens to help people to think about what ‘life in all its fullness’ John 10:10 looks like in the way we live our lives. We offered ideas from and shared about the The Wellbeing Journey as an opportunity for further exploration.
  3. Choose interesting venues that are not the usual places of worship, especially if people aren’t used to church or you want to gain a new perspective as a church family. We did a morning session on the beach (07:30-09:30) and an afternoon session in a big garden (14:30-16:15).
  4. Publicise carefully and think about the dates – we were very surprised that people had fears about whether the day was veering away from Christianity.  We justified our objectives that we needed to look after our own wellbeing, referring to Jesus’ command ‘To love your neighbour as yourself.’ We sometimes forget the ‘yourself’ in Jesus’ commandment, but we are not called to ‘run on empty.’ We held the weekend at the end of the summer holidays, but this meant advertising was hard over the summer and families were focused on getting ready for the new term.
  5. Think about who it’s geared towards – is this multigenerational or for one age group? Is it for Christians or as a missional opportunity? We wanted the wellbeing weekend to be accessible to all ages, all abilities and those on the fringe of church, so we had to bear this in mind with the activities chosen and the content offered.
  6. Build in time for light activity and time for reflection – for an all-age group we included stretching, breathing exercises, paddling and fun games with beanbags, stretch bands and a parachute!  Time was set aside to make notes and set goals, but also one of the talks was about how to make wellbeing the foundation of our everyday lives.
  7. Offer healthy(ish) but tasty food!
  8. Take the learnings and fun forward into the Sunday service for those who missed the Saturday sessions and to tie it into Christian living. We built a cairn of stones in front of the altar made from the stones that people had found on the beach and decorated, (including words that were meaningful to them in relation to wellbeing).
  9. Get feedback, pray about it and plan next steps – think ahead about when to check-in with people again to see how wellbeing goals have been sustained. Could this one-off event lead to a regular wellbeing initiative, perhaps connecting with those who don’t usually come to church?
  10. *If you choose to do activities involving some risk, (such as wild swimming / swimming in the sea as we did) ensure participants are made aware in advance of that risk. You may wish to do a risk assessment and ask participants to sign a disclaimer – do this in advance so that thoughts of unlikely mishaps don’t interfere with the day itself.

Give it a go!

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