It's Not Just Work
All of us in ministry work hard for Christ’s Kingdom. Occasional times of retreat, planning, and dreaming—and even a little fun with colleagues—can refresh us for continued ministry.
That’s what happened at the end of April when Back to God Ministries International (BTGMI) team leaders from around the world met at the beautiful (but chilly!) Gull Lake Ministry Center near Kalamazoo, MI.
Spanish ministry leader Guillermo Serrano shared, “The opportunity to interact with colleagues working in different areas of the world was instructive. Their reports showed challenges that are unique. The retreat provides us with time to know each other better, our common necessities, and the opportunity to share prayer requests.”
For four days, BTGMI ministry leaders worshipped, gave reports, shared ideas, and collaborated on ways they could adapt each other’s media outreach projects in a different cultural context. For example, at the last retreat in 2015, Chinese leader, Jerry An, introduced his new ministry mobile app, and that inspired the Spanish, Hindi, and French ministry to work on developing an app for their own outreach.
Jerry commented, “To me, the retreat is not just a wonderful opportunity to learn from one another, but also a chance to see the bigger picture, align the wheels, and press on towards the goal.”
Marc Nabie, recently appointed as French leader in Africa, was grateful to participate. “The retreat allowed me to get acquainted with BTGMI staff and its huge ministry impact in many nations. It has sharpened my vision on Christian media ministry.”
BTGMI's Hindi ministry leader added, “It was encouraging to be in the midst of the people of God through whom God is at work around the world. I had much to learn from them and I am indeed challenged to do things differently and better.”
Each morning at the retreat, Harold Kallemyn, with whom BTGMI partners through the Timothy Leadership Training Institute, led devotions. On Sunday evening another ministry partner, Jon Opgenorth from Words of Hope, led a time of worship and communion. The next day, World Renew director Carol Bremer-Bennett shared her personal story and gave a presentation about the ministry of World Renew, in order to consider places and ways that future partnership and collaboration could occur. The leaders commented how Carol’s story touched their hearts.
Those of you who know Maribeth Stech’s gifts of hospitality, event coordination, and cooking won’t be surprised that she made and served all the meals—eleven in total. “It was wonderful to see the ministry leaders spending time over meals getting to know each other,” she noted. “And, there was a lot of laughter!”
The team also took advantage of the center’s bowling alley and a boat tour around the lake. If you are looking to be renewed and refreshed for ongoing ministry, perhaps your team could organize a weekend retreat of planning, dreaming, worshipping—and don’t forget to include a little fun!