A United Methodist Pastor's Theological Reflections

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57

Friday, January 16, 2009

Minus 9 in Minster, Ohio - Brrrrrrr

The weather is cold outside (minus 9) but the Spirit is warm here at Maria Stein Catholic retreat center (Maria Stein, Ohio) which is about an hour and a half northwest of Xenia. I'm here with 9 other United Methodist pastors drawing closer to God, sharpening our ministry focus, enjoying awesome meals, and joining in worship/prayer.

Here are some specific focuses of our time on this retreat:
  • Reviewing planning needs for ministry in 2009 including our hosting of the April 23-25 Wesleyan Institute which will be held at Faith Community.

  • Looking carefully at our Lenten focus (February 25 through April 11) "The Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations," a United Methodist resource designed to help churches faithfully live out our core values of Radical Hospitality, Passioniate Worship, Faith Forming Relationships, Risk Taking Mission, & Extravagant Generosity.

  • Heard a presentation on key elements of effective church leadership, borrowing a page from FDR and his focus back in 1933 on making the first 100 days of his presidency focused and strategic to help the country.

  • Personally, I have been able to read several chapters from the book, "Disappointment with God" by Phillip Yancey which I will be using as a resource for one of the sermons in the "Though I Walk Through the Valley" sermon series in April/May.

This is our 2nd annual clergy retreat at this location and we have really enjoyed it. Retreats have a way of building community, trust, collegiality, and a renewed faith. Which reminds me...We learned so much about each other by playing the simple game, "Apples to Apples" last night! Yes, memories are being made. Thanks be to God!

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