Senior Pastor’s Retreat Takeaways

An amazing week at the Hampton Inn Oceanfront in Myrtle Beach, SC with a bunch of Senior Pastors.

My takeaways (in no particular order) from the sessions, conversations and personal observations:

  • Quote that defined the week for me: “The best way to be engaged with what God is doing is to be relaxed.” My personality, my experience and my inner drive often keep me from this.  I realized in a new way that relaxation is key to revelation…and that my inner drive needs to be re-calibrated to last in ministry.
  • On effectiveness: My life is a portal of the kingdom when I begin to understand that my Father looks at me and says “I’m proud of you.”  This is Covenant thinking: What’s true of Jesus is true of me.  Perhaps the reason the early church was so effective is because they fundamentally believed this and I don’t.
  • Wrestling with: If God asked me to stay here and serve in obscurity for the rest of my life, would I? I’m currently fine with the first part of that question, not so much the second.  As John Wesley asked, am I dying to success?
  • On Trust: A potent quote another pastor shared. “If you trust someone, you’ll be hurt.  If you don’t trust anyone, you’ll be destroyed.”  It seems like people often choose destruction over hurt.  This is a sure sign that we are in a battle.
  • File under temptation: Jesus’ temptations are offered to us in every age. The American version of Jesus’ temptations: Celebrity, Consumerism, Competition.  We (and I) have bought it hook, line and sinker.  To each point: 1 – We have a celebrity culture in American evangelicalism–no question about it. And I find myself wanting in. I’ve already cancelled a couple twitter feeds to begin combating this in my spirit.  2 – We are spectacularly skilled at marketing and highly attenuated to people’s needs.  There is a dark underbelly to this.  When I do it really well, it feeds #1.  3 – I remember a pastor I worked for encouraging me to have leaders compete against each other as a form of motivating them to grow their area of responsibility. In other words, they were to take their actual, non-renewable physical capital–and use it to battle each other instead of the real enemy.  Seemed like an effective tool at the time.  Now, not so much.
  • The real enemy: “Make a name for yourself in hell. Make your battle each day to be a tremendous nuisance to the enemy.”    –Steve Cockram
  • Question I’m still pondering: “What do I value most about my self, my training, my identity that I need to surrender?” Jesus was in full submission to his Father.  Am I?
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