Missional Musings: 2018’s Word of the Year


December 20, 2018

Not long ago I heard this brief snippet on the radio that the word that’s been chosen to best describe 2018 is “toxic.” I had to find out who said this and why, so I did a little googling online and found that it comes from Oxford Dictionary, who chooses an annual Word for the Year. The report states, “Strictly defined as ‘poisonous,’ Oxford Dictionaries says that its research shows that ‘this year more than ever, people have been using ‘toxic’ to describe a vast array of things, situations, concerns and events.’”* Are you as stricken by this as I am?

Maybe your first reaction is one of denial, rationalizing that it’s limited to certain experiences and events, or the way news is always at our fingertips. Maybe you initially blame a certain arena, such as politics or the media. Perhaps your first reaction is one of sullen agreement, looking around and finding more stress and pessimism.

I guess in some ways, I’m not surprised by the word that was chosen, but I am incredibly saddened, especially as we’re in the season of Advent and leading up to Christmas. The more I think about “toxic” as being the defining word for 2018 though, the more determination I have to live in a way that proves otherwise.

How about you?

I may not be able to change the word of the year, but I am able to be the change I want to see in the world, and so are you.

John 1:5 reads, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness doesn’t extinguish the light.” As we celebrate the birth of Christ, Emmanuel, God with us, we can celebrate the grace, hope and love of God, exemplified through the True Light, through Jesus.

As followers of Christ, we too can share that light. We can take light into the darkness, into that toxicity, and the darkness won’t extinguish the light. In fact, even a little bit of light can seem pretty powerful when it’s surrounded by a lot of darkness.

I encourage you to look for ways to shatter the belief that “toxic” is a good descriptor of the world in which we live. Look for ways to share hope, to extend grace, and to show the light of Christ. If you attend a Christmas Eve service and you participate in the traditional singing of “Silent Night” and light candles around the sanctuary or outside, think about what a powerful impact spreading the light has. Think about what an impact we can make if we all take a moment to share a little light with others.

*Read full report online at https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/14/uk/oxford-dictionary-word-of-the-year-toxic-gbr-intl/index.html

How to Plan a Family Retreat: A Template


So you’ve been handed down the task of rallying cousins for a retreat? Lucky you!

That may not be the first thought that comes to mind, but we’re about to make the process much simpler.

Planning a retreat, reunion, or get-together may seem like a daunting task, but follow this free planning template to get your family on board and excited!

Follow this link to view and download the template: Hinton Center Free Retreat Planning Template

Happy planning!

company retreat

10 Reasons to Start Investing in Company Retreats


10 Reasons to Start Investing in Company Retreats


Whether your company has 2 employees or 200, effective workplace relationship building increases productivity and adds to the bottom line. The chef may have no idea who does the marketing, the tech gal may have never heard of the hospitality staff, and the secretary may have never seen the face of a CFO.

We often work in our own bubbles. You always intend to take your cubicle neighbor out for coffee, but reports are due, you get busy, and you miss another connection.

Cue the company retreat. This is the perfect medium for cultivating new friendships, collaborating for shared goals, and overcoming company obstacles.

But…no one wants to go, everyone is incredibly busy, and you have no idea where to start the planning process.

No more excuses! This year a company retreat is a must, and here is exactly why:

  1. Make New Connections

Gary from the sound booth had NO IDEA that Tom from the church’s nursery team shared his obsession of early 2000s Matthew McConehey movies! But how could he when they never cross paths in the same building? Some may cringe at these get-to-know you ice breakers, but they make a difference! Try staff fact bingo, an ‘I Love My Neighbor Who’ game, or have each staff member bring an object that represents their personality.

  1. Tackle Fears

At a recent conference, a woman shared that at their company retreat they addressed everyone’s greatest fears. Everyone writes down their fear on an index card (either career-related or just general fears) and shares with the group. Then the group has a better understanding of that individual’s worries and the individual has a growing support system at their place of work. And, hopefully this will sway Jennifer to stop hiring clowns for the company birthday party.

  1. Learn Others’ Roles

Learning others’ roles and responsibilities creates a more cohesive work environment. This also instills a foundation of respect for what others do. You could mix up teams and have each work toward a different departmental goal: the CEO and secretary have to fold 100 fitted sheets perfectly, the marketing guru has to plan a meal for 100 people with dietary restrictions on a severe budget, etc.

  1. Get Creative

New environments spark new ideas. Take the staff away from your campus for the company retreat and return with a fresh set of ideas and motivation. You could even ask the staff of the retreat center for a scavenger hunt to get your group moving as soon as you arrive!

  1. Fresh Perspectives

The same group of people solving the same problems repeatedly can lead to stagnation. Bring up some issues your team is struggling with solving and see if someone else has an idea your department hadn’t yet thought up. You never know where good ideas are hiding!

  1. Remind Yourself Why You Started

A great way to begin a company retreat is briefly outlining company history and the mission statement. Founders of an important mission are inspiring, and its easy to forget the big picture when you’re staring at a computer screen all day. Taking a step back and reflecting on the purpose of your company will encourage a morale boost when you return to the office.

  1. Dig Deeper

If you want to develop a deeper connection among your employees, skip the trust-falls and go straight to the big questions. “Who inspires you?” “Why did you pick this career?” “What is the hardest decision you’ve ever had to make?” Instruct staff to get in groups of 6 for the first question, then 3, then 4, and so on, so that everyone gets a chance to connect and share.

  1. Reward, reward, reward!

This is a great time to honor your hard-working employees. You could mention staff members’ big accomplishments from the past year, or even give out fun awards. ‘Best Copier-Fixer’, ‘The One You Can Always Ask Dog Questions’, and ‘Most Likely to Let You Have the Last Cupcake’ are some great starters.

  1. Get Competitive

Seek out a facility with disc golf, corn hole, or some other recreation options. Hold competitions for silly prizes, and give coworkers a friendly competitive outlet! Canoe relay anyone?

  1. Then, Do It Again!

Don’t leave this retreat as a one-time gig. Have the planning committee (or retreat planner) set a tentative date for the following year to get people excited. Staff will build off of the retreat energy and get motivated when the next one draws close.

Company retreats will benefit the members of your team in a number of areas. Head back to the office ready to conquer the day with a new sense of community and pop those office bubbles! Check out our retreat-planning template here.

Scroll Up