The Eagle Rock Retreat Center in Eagle Rock, Missouri, began as a ministry for boys. In 1986, the Royal Rangers purchased land in southwestern Missouri for an Ozark mountain retreat that would help turn boys into godly men by combining outdoor adventure with lessons in Christian service and biblical training.
The Assemblies of God opened the retreat center to the public so other denominations could experience similar spiritual strengthening and fellowship.
Today, groups ranging from small to large can host Christian-based retreats at the Eagle Rock Retreat Center for a getaway that both relaxes and energizes the soul.
Eagle Rock has welcomed a wide range of faith-based gatherings for groups of 15 to 10,000. Accommodations from rustic to modern allow planners to choose their group’s retreat experience.
The Eagles Resort offers motel-style rooms for groups of up to 104. Seven cabins with two sleeping rooms, private bathrooms and other amenities make this a popular option for large groups.
The 33-person JB Lodge, the 48-person Deaverton and the 32-person Stanekville offer dorm-style rooms frequently used for youth groups or guests looking for simple accommodations. For those seeking a wilder setting, the center offers 16 recreational vehicle sites and 16 campsites to retreat and conference groups.
The center can also host large outdoor festivals, such as music festivals or competitions. Groups of up to 10,000 can gather and stay overnight at primitive camping sites. The center has several shower houses throughout the property, as well as support kitchens that can serve thousands.
Meeting spaces have complimentary audio and visual equipment included in the center’s price. Some of the main meeting areas are the 100-person Eagles Resort Conference, the 120-person JB Annex, the 50-person Deaverton Town Hall and the 50-person Farewell Chapel. The 250-person JB Lodge Dining Room is the largest facility and features traditional lodge-style decor.
Spheres of paint splatting all over giggling guests make paintball a laugh-filled, colorful game that creates lifelong memories. Planners can add a paintball tournament to their experience for a high-energy bonding experience.
Paintball is one of Eagle Rock’s many premium recreation activities. Groups can also challenge themselves on a rock-climbing tower and attached zip line for some extra thrills. The center’s high ropes course is another treetop adventure that delivers both physical and mental challenges.
Other team-building challenges help groups develop problem-solving skills with team-oriented initiatives. Shooting sports using skeet, BB guns and arrows enhance participants’ concentration skills. Other ideas are available in Eagle Creek’s Recreation Guide handbook that lists rainy-day games, outside-the-box ideas and other team-building options.
A young, energetic preacher named Johnnie Barnes started the Royal Rangers program in 1962. Though as a teenager Barnes was set on becoming a park ranger, God called him to ministry. To create Royal Rangers, he drew on his time as an Eagle Scout.
The Pentecostal mentoring program started small with summer camps before expanding into other countries. After the purchase of Eagle Creek, named Camp Eagle Creek at the time, the organization hosted several National Camporama tournaments at the site. These events allow boys from kindergarten to 12th grade compete in various outdoor challenges while engaging in Scripture teachings.
Although the property is still owned and operated by the National Royal Ranger Council, Christian Retreats Network manages the property and offers a variety of planning resources.
Christian Retreats Network teaches planners marketing strategies, tips on making flyers and how to send out group event registration forms. The company’s website also provides informational videos on a wide range of topics, from setting up a retreat budget to filling out a rooming list.
These resources allow planners to focus more on creating retreats that empower people to follow Christ and less on the organizing details.
Set amid 1,500 acres of Ozark Mountain vistas, the Eagle Rock Retreat Center places natural beauty front and center. Many attendees say their favorite activity is simply sitting on handcrafted rocking chairs and watching the sun set behind the mountains.
Groups can explore the scenic surroundings on several of the center’s hiking trails. The facility also rents mountain bikes that visitors can race down the mountain slopes at a quicker pace.
Basic recreation options are complimentary in every retreat package, although planners should schedule group activities in advance. Participants can try their hand at a disc golf course, swim in an outdoor pool or play a round of sand volleyball. Other outdoor recreation options are hayrides, horseshoes, tetherball and a bouldering wall.
Eagle Rock Retreat Center
Location: Eagle Rock, Missouri
Size: The facility’s buildings sit on 1,500 acres in southwestern Missouri.
Capacity: The center can host up to 250 overnight guests. Unlike many retreat centers, Eagle Rock can also accommodate large events or festivals of up to 10,000 guests.