So this past week I was at a camp in southeastern Indiana for a minsters retreat. It was a little more than a camp, as it was the Country Lake Retreat Center- a first class facility. And it was a little more than a ministers retreat as it featured some exclusive mentoring time with Bob Russell. Bob recently retired as minister at the Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, a congregation with a weekly attendance of almost 20,000 people. More impressive than that staggering number is the way that Bob led the church towards such extraordinary growth. While many churches today are able to grow large with flashy multimedia or various programming, Southeast grew because of solid Biblical preaching. They're still rather traditional in their methodology, but God definitely blessed their efforts. I believe it was due to the humility and holy approach that Bob brought into that pulpit.
Their were only eight of us there this week, all of us church planters. This gave us incredible opportunities for personal interaction with Bob, a chance to see sides of him that few get to witness. The staff assisting with the retreat were amazing; first class in every aspect. And everything was paid for- food, housing, and recreation- because of the generosity of a man in California. We talked about leadership and had the opportunity to take behind the scenes tours Churchill Downs and the Louisville Slugger factory [at the bat museum, we were guided by the CEO and grandson of LS's founder, Jack Hillerich]. One night we ate at one of the swankiest restaurants in Louisville. Best steak I've ever eaten.
One of the surprising blessings of the retreat was the camaraderie that developed between us ministers. I had the chance to meet some guys from all over the country in all kinds of situations. Despite the differences in our backgrounds we had a great time of interacting, both joking around and encouraging each other. I know I'll keep in touch with these guys, looking forward to how God will work in their ministries.
I certainly had a great week of introspection. More than ever, I feel confident that Echo was what God needed from us. I'm actually reenergized and ready to get back to the work of our church.
It was very, very good.