I hate to admit weakness! In fact I’d just like to assume that if I had any weaknesses I overcame them years ago. Moreover, I’d like you to assume that I had none. Alas, ’tis not the truth. In fact those that know me personally can attest to many more weaknesses than the one I am about to share with you.
Of all the essential planning steps, this is the one I struggle with the most. Transferring the vision from your staff leadership to your lay-leadership has been extremely difficult for me over the years. Perhaps it’s because we live in a transient society and our leadership team keeps changing. Or, it may be that a growing church is always in transition and therefore the responsibilities and titles of our leaders constantly change. Yeah, maybe that’s it. More likely, I just stink at this part.
I have found that several things have helped me in casting vision to our Lay-Leadership team and keeping the up-to-date on our church’s direction. Bi-monthly Deacon’s breakfasts (started in 2012), quarterly Men’s Leadership Training (begins 2013) and lastly our annual Men’s Leadership Retreat (est. 2009). Today I will share with you our Men’s Leadership Retreat.
Men’s Leadership Retreat
At the beginning of November every year, I spend 2 days with our Leading Men at Camp Ironwood. The first day is by invitation only and we have several things we must accomplish before we sleep that Thursday night. The second day is our Men’s Retreat and we are joined by several dozen more men from the church and leave Saturday after breakfast.
#1 – Who is Invited?
Everyman in the church is invited up for the Thursday Night through Saturday Morning Men’s Retreat, but only a select few are invited up to the Thursday events. Those we invite are:
Deacons (These are core servants who function as my advisory counsel, are well-informed & able to counsel the pastor because they know his heart)
Lay Shepherds (special assignment ministers – Pastor’s “Go-To” people for anything & everything)
Small Group Leaders & Assistant Leaders (focus completely on building strong Christians within their small groups)
Ministry Supervisors (those who supervise any major ministry, i.e. AWANA)
Potential Leaders we think may be ready to move to the next level of spiritual leadership within the church.
#2 – What do we Accomplish on Thursday?
The main goal of Thursday is to communicate with my core men the vision for and direction of the church for the coming 12 months. I open up my heart as I reveal our theme and 10 goals for 2013. We spend time reviewing the 2013 calendar and stressing those events that we want our entire church to be looking forward to. We will train our men in their roles and responsibilities. The Deacons will meet with Pastor Fred Murray as he presents the Budget for approval. The Lay Shepherds & Small Group Leaders will discuss pastoral care of the flock. Lastly, I speak to the men from the Word about the necessity of strong, male, spiritual leadership.
#3 – What do we Accomplish on Friday?
At dinner on Thursday night the rest of our men will arrive for the Men’s retreat. This is my main opportunity to speak to our men on important issues such as servant leadership, purity in thoughts & actions, godly fatherhood, and the brotherhood of Christ. We pepper these sessions with high octane events such as paintball, skeet-shooting, eating huge try-tip steaks. However, with all of these things going on, my true purpose is to use this day as a training opportunity to teach my men’s leadership team how to lead. For example, let’s say there is a guy named Skip that I know has only been coming to church for only a few months and struggles with his marriage. I will approach one of my leaders and say something like this, “Bill, I want you to do something for me. Do you know Skip? He’s new and he just received Christ a few months ago. He needs a godly friend and leader. I want you to go talk with him and spend the afternoon with him. Ask him about his work and marriage and see if he opens up to you.
If he does, just listen and let him know that you are there for him. If the opportunity presents itself, give him some Biblical advise then (this is key) pray with him about the situation.” I will do this many times as I attempt to connect the new comer and train the church leader. The last thing we do that night is a campfire testimony time. Men of all spots on the spiritual maturity scale share what Jesus has been doing in their lives. This is always my favorite moment.
Next Blog I will take you into our Vision Sunday to allow you to see my 4th step in Annual Planning.
What do you think? Is there something that you would do differently?
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