Grace Brethren pastors and ministry leaders from the eastern region of the U.S. recently met at Ocean City, Md., for the annual East Focus Retreat. Tom Avey, coordinator of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches, who planned the event, asked for feedback. He received this note from Brian McCall, part-time director of family ministry at the Martinsburg, Pa., Grace Brethren Church (Kurt Miller, pastor). Brian also teaches full-time in a federal prison.
To Retreat: “To move away from danger along a path previously traveled that is known to be safe.” As ministers of the gospel we are sometimes in peril and do not even know it. This Focus Retreat reminded of the path of retreat, away from the danger of guilt, and back to the foot of the cross and my secure identity as an adopted son of God.
I am new on staff at Martinsburg (Pa.) Grace Brethren Church as a part-time Director of Family Ministry. Attending the Focus Retreat was a great experience for me. To gain from the experience of those men that have been doing the work of the Father for so many years was energizing. All too often we get caught up in the problems and programs of the congregations we serve and we forget about our identity in Jesus Christ. What a great reminder, and for me, a foundational principle, that I must build my work on the foundation of who I am in Jesus Christ – an adopted Son of God.
I work in a prison. Prison staff must constantly “watch the back” of their fellow co-workers so that all will go home safely. Sometimes in ministry we feel alone. It is comforting to know that there are others, working for the kingdom, wrestling with the same issues that I am. It is because of the security of this support system that I can step out on the ministry ledge and grasp what it means to be “fully alive.”
Four retreats remain for individuals in Grace Brethren ministry leadership. They include: Alaska (November 5-7), California (January 31-February 2, 2011); Florida (March 14-16, 2011); and in the Northwest at Camp Clear Lake, White Pass, Wash. (May 16-18, 2011). For more information, see What Is a Focus Retreat?