Ocean City, Md., proved the ideal location for the Charis Fellowship East Focus Retreat where nearly 100 pastors, ministry leaders, and spouses gathered last week for the three-day conference. Attendees stayed and enjoyed meals at the Holiday Inn & Suites that offered an ocean view and boardwalk access, and gatherings were held at a nearby church.
Sessions were structured similarly to the Central Focus Retreat. A time of musical worship was led by Ryan Ritchey, director of worship and discipleship at Martinsburg Grace Brethren Church in Martinsburg, Pa. Wade Rininger (church planter with Assist Church Expansion in Tampa Bay, Fla.) and Dayne Carraway (church planter with Assist Church Expansion in Baltimore, Md.) emceed each session with games and giveaways.
Participants attended breakout discussions on topics that interested them such as community connections, developing leaders, anxiety & depression, public worship services, and ministering to people under 30. Each discussion was facilitated by a panel of experienced pastors, leaders, and professionals. Unique to this retreat, separate breakout discussions for pastors’ wives were offered.
Throughout the retreat many ministries gave updates such The Eagle Commission, Assist Church Expansion, Momentum Ministry Partners, GraceConnect, Encompass World Partners, Charis Women, and Grace College. Monday night, Aspire Pastors’s Network sponsored a late-night snack from a shaved ice truck, and Tuesday night Water for Good provided evening snacks during their update.
Tuesday afternoon provided free time where many enjoyed the boardwalk, played golf, and visited Assateague Island National Seashore. Attendees had the opportunity to fellowship with others at area restaurants for dinner. The retreat concluded Wednesday morning with Larry Humberd, pastor at Lehigh Valley Grace Church in Bethlehem, Pa., sharing his personal story of living on mission for the Gospel.
The Southwest Focus Retreat is planned for January 24–26, 2022, in Calabasas, Calif.