From Thursday-Sunday of this past week, our elders (pastors) and our wives went to Sunriver for our annual Elder/Wives planning retreat. I thought I would take a few moments in this post to talk about why this is important and what we do while we’re there.
A comment about leaving church:
Before I start, I think it’s important to identify the fact that our elders feel comfortable leaving our church in the hands of other leaders in our church. We thank God for this. Having others who can preach, capable worship leaders, servants to make sure everything is administratively done, and people who love our church, are all remarkable things to us. It does reveal that God is at work and we are really thankful for His grace among us.
What’s the retreat about?
Several years ago, I started learning about the importance of planning retreats. So, around 2006, we started implementing annual retreats in our church budget. On normal years, I would take a planning retreat to work on the next year’s teaching plan. At that retreat, I try to plan the texts and sermon ideas for each Sunday of the following year. It has proven to be helpful to me as a pastor but also helpful in informing our church of the next year’s spiritual emphasis. In 2006, we started making our elder/wives a regular occurrence. Unlike my personal retreat, we have not missed a year of doing this important retreat.
In times past, this retreat was about evaluating church health and church life, while making plans for the following year. From men’s/women’s events to children’s ministries, we planned everything in the church. However, over the past several years, this has taken on a much different look because now have Ministry Leaders overseeing most of the day-to-day stuff of the church. And because those leaders have done such a great job, they’re usually evaluating and planning their own ministry areas, with an overseeing elder working alongside them.
Recently, our planning retreat has taken on a much more “30000 foot” view of the church. Big ticket items like building plans, budget, and leadership community take the most of our time, while considering the health and faithfulness of CLF to God’s word.
But let me add one other element to all of this: over the course of the last 2 years, our elders have seen a need for us to intentionally build relationally with one another. Our goal in this is to build into our relationships the freedom and joy to speak freely and honestly because there’s trust in our relationships before the Lord. So, our retreat is as much about building relationally, as it is about planning. Our belief is that a leadership community that cares for each other will be a great source of care to the church at-large.
How did the retreat go?
We got everything covered! Those of you who know me, know I’m a doer and I like things getting done. But, when I say we go everything covered, I mean the relational building as well. We had deep times of sharing encouragement with one another and times that we spoke honestly about church life and philosophy. We made several decisions (budget, missions, etc.) but there are several more that we still don’t have clarity about (facilities, office space, etc.).
A couple of the highlights for me were: 1) our times of hearing the heart that each pastor and wife has for our church. It is so obvious on this team that 1 Peter 5 leadership is at work at CLF. These men serve this church with joy and CLF is on their hearts. I was encouraged by that as the Lord made it so clear to me about these men. 2) our times of sharing how grateful we are for one another and for our church. The tears were flowing as we shared thoughts of love for each one and for CLF. It was a privilege to be a part of this. Not to mention that the axe-throwing at the end of the weekend was pretty sweet. Bill Heard is a master at it (who would’ve thought!).
Thank you for praying for us. I believe that we come back refreshed, encouraged, and filled with faith for what God is doing and will do at CLF.
From the Cheap Seats:
- Ever seen a Rodri Rocket…watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9y5z-Hg6_HA. It happened yesterday. Speaking of Rodri: I found this short article about a professional soccer player (who are treated like gods in Europe), living in a college dorm to be awesome: https://www.the-sun.com/sport/premier-league/3980560/rodri-man-city-student-business-management-degree/.
- The stakes are incredibly high for the Civil War (I know we can’t say that anymore, but…)…the annual Oregon State vs. Oregon game. Oregon wins, they win the Pac-12 North. OSU wins and Washington State loses, OSU is Pac-12 North champ. Fun, fun. When was the last time this game has such significance on it?
- MLB is already talking about a lock-out due to a labor strike. I hate it when business gets in the way of the greatest game.
Praying that your week is filled with an understanding of God’s grace extended toward you in Christ.