I was asked yesterday, “How did the retreat with the elders go?” A good question, and since I asked for prayer here it is only appropriate that I give a brief report here. The shortest answer is that the time went very well. I never like to do things like this out of my routine. However, this was certainly worth it. Some highlights:

1) Prayer. Friday night was given over to worship and prayer. Geoff led us in a time of Scripture and song after which each elder shared some realities in his own life and then each of us prayed for the elder who had shared. This was a very special time. We were made to realize once again how really human we each are and yet how each of us craves godliness. The end of our time on Saturday was also devoted to prayer as we spent an extended period praying for each of the members of the church by name.

2) Fellowship. After the heaviness of the prayer time, we lightened up by playing a game called Whoonu. Laughs are good for guys who often have to struggle with weighty things and even differences of opinion.

3) Reflection. All Saturday morning, Geoff led us in reflecting on the overall ministry of the church, particularly the way people come to us and the way in which we either are or are not successful in aiding their discipleship. This has us all thinking about how we might better structure ministry to further the tasks God has given us. We have a lot more thinking to do!

4) Food. Dayspring Episcopal Conference center is a gem. It is a first class facility only minutes from Hope Church. It is well designed and beautiful. But their greatest asset is their kitchen. I guarantee you I ate too much.

Our prayers for some time regarding the leadership of Hope Church has been for unity. We are individuals each with strong opinions and strong wills. Only God can mesh us into a unit pulling in the same direction. Weekends like these further our unity, and for that I am grateful to God.