This past weekend we held our annual Leader Retreat. This is really three retreats, but they overlap so much that we treat it like one big event. It all began on Thursday evening as our staff joined with some of our M partners for a relaxing time of the Triple F (Food, Fun, and Fellowship) at the home of Leighton and Laura Flowers. Many props to the Flowers for hosting us at their house, or as we now call it the Flowers Manor on Lake Lavon. This time was followed up on Friday morning with a partnership meeting as Brad led a discussion with our friends from overseas in planning and improving our strategy. It was especially great this year to see some iGo alums at that table representing the overseas team.
Friday evening our team leaders arrived for training. This group includes city leaders for the Paris teams, JSI team leaders, and XJ (Xtreme Journey) leaders. We spent the evening and most of the day on Saturday helping this group get ready for their leadership role this summer. We then dismissed most of them and welcomed the 2012 crop of JSI’s for the final segment of the retreat. JSI’s are students who were accepted into an overseas internship for this summer. They will serve alongside the field staff in leading the first time students throughout the summer. The Leader Retreat is a special time every year as we get to invest in some of our best students in an informal reunion type environment. Here are some of the highlights from the teaching.
The RWB (Rogers Worship Band) of John and Chassidy Rogers led worship for us all weekend and did an incredible job of preparing us to learn from God’s word.
Shu kicked things off on Friday night with the leaders by teaching from Joshua 1:1-9. Like Joshua taking over leadership for Moses, the time has come for this year’s leaders to step up. He reminded them that God had called them, and His challenge to Joshua to be strong and courageous was pertinent to them as well. Joshua’s strength and courage would come from his devotion to the Word of God as well as his deep-seated understanding that God would be with him.
In teaching how to lead, Ky reminded the team leaders that it is hard to know if you are saying the right things when you give your opinion. However, if you speak the Word and teach the Word, you can always be confident that what you say is helpful and correct. iGo alum and former team leader, LC was able to share from her past experiences a challenge to always be looking for teaching opportunities. The “as you go” teaching model works best on our teams.
Rowdy taught the leaders a message from John 15 on abiding in Christ. He challenged the group to remember that God had called them to a big task knowing that they could not do it without Him. We can’t do anything without Him, so we must abide in Him and depend upon Him to lead through us.
Brad encouraged the leaders to be true leaders and not just managers. One of the differences is that leaders multiply themselves, and Brad wanted to make sure that our hope and expectation for these team leaders is that they will model, assist, watch, and leave (MAWL) as they intentionally disciple their team members.
As we kicked off our time with the JSI’s on Saturday, we had the privilege of having one of our overseas workers share a message out of 2 Corinthians. DT taught us that God has chosen to put the invaluable treasure of His Gospel in jars of clay. Jars of clay are fragile (easily broken), expendable (easily replaced), and unimpressive. Why would God do this? B/c the reality that we as jars of clay carry such a treasure puts the gospel on display. The corrective truth that we are not cheap and worthless, but we are probably not as important as we think we are was painfully good to hear.
Ky brought the last message of the weekend as he challenged the JSI’s from Matthew 7 where Jesus talked about the wise and foolish builders. He warned all of us to make sure we are not trusting in our own righteousness in any way by reminding us that we always drift in that direction. The message really hit home when he said, “If you think your disobedience causes you to lose God’s favor, that probably means you thought your obedience was earning it.”
One of the last sessions of the retreat was led by iGo alum and former journeyman, LJ. She challenged the JSI’s on the importance of spiritual disciplines. She recommended a great book on prayer. She also shared with them that spiritual disciplines do not give holiness. They are the path to holiness.
As usual, the L.A.W. (Ladies at Work) were on their A-game all weekend. From teaching lessons to keeping us on schedule to just plain getting stuff done, they were a highlight reel of their own. And finally, I promised to mention Aaron Clayton, who was not at our retreat this year due to the fact that he is now a big-time church planter down in Waxahachie. He did, however visit the office today and help us unload the trailer.
Those are the highlights according to my memory with assistance from the note-taking abilities of Lindsey Ledbetter (aka Homeschool Hipster, aka Drew, aka Nancy). What were your highlights? Hit that comment button and share them or share them on our Facebook page.