Leading leaders

This week is our annual elders retreat where we get away for a few days to read, pray, and sing together. We take a look at everything we have done, are doing, and hope to do with the goal of being more faithful shepherds of the flock. We plan for the meeting with a congregational family meeting where we take questions, ideas, and thoughts. We form a loose agenda and then put it all on the table for a few days. Every year we come away refreshed, challenged, and focused on the ministry before us.

I would like to hear what some of you do with your leadership in this regard. Do you have retreats, planning sessions, and the like? Please give us the details. What do you do for downtime? Please share in the comments.

4 responses to this post.

  1. Great question. I look forward to hearing some helpful responses.

    This year at our elder’s retreat we…

    Discussed a couple of chapters from Carson’s “A Call to Spiritual Reformation.” That book was very useful at keeping us on target.

    Played bocce ball. Played volleyball. (two sports that all elders of various physical capabilities could do together)

    Talked about our church’s past.
    Talked about our present distinctives and strengths.
    Talked about our present weaknesses and challenges.
    Talked about keeping the gospel central in the life and ministry of the church
    (Colossians 1:3-6 and 1:28-29) (Ephesians 1:3-7 and 4:12-16)

    Spent time thanking God for evidences of grace in the lives of:
    children, youth, seniors, singles, marriages, new believers, baptisms, deaths, music ministry, deacons, and other areas of church life.

  2. Hey Paul,

    We don’t have an annual retreat together, but end up doing about 2 retreats a year as an elder board. As a young church that is still establishing its ministries in the gospel, we need “working retreats” periodically to secure uninterrupted time together. Our position of divorce and remarriage came from such a retreat (along with our philosophy of missions, our church’s vision and purpose statement, etc.). Depending on the subject and the setting and the demand on us, we try to have our wives with us (there are seven elders).

    Since we have primarily had these kind of “working retreats” lately, we feel the need at the turn of the year to have a retreat with our wives (and possibly our kids) that aims to simply strengthen our love and care for each other. No agenda but that one. No “work” except that “labor of love.” We believe our quality of shepherding in the body will rise only as high as our degree of shepherding each other as an elder team. So, it’s important for us to get time together like this.

    Keep up the good work DrPSL.

    And, Spencer – it’s been a long time and would love to get caught up with you!

  3. Thanks for asking the question and for those that have responded.

    I am an associate pastor of a small 70 person church in Northridge, CA. We have two vocational pastors, one non-vocational elder and two deacons. At this time we include all of these men at our Annual Leadership Retreat. We take three days in January (normally a Thursday evening through Saturday afternoon) and usually these days are pretty full. The days look like this:

    Day #1 – Devoted to singing, prayer and personal evaluation. We also spent time reading portions of Shepherding God’s Flock by Jay Adams. The sections we read this evening had to do more with our hearts as leaders and how we should be examining our hearts while shepherding. We read more of this book through the following days at the beginning of each session.

    Day #2 – This day was spent evaluating our ministries (using SWOT) and ended with evaluating how we did with last year’s goals and priorities.

    Day #3 – On this day we set new goals and priorities based off of day #2’s findings and then we re-evaluated and re-distributed areas of oversight amongst our elders and deacons. We also discussed our shepherding of individual members and discipleship and attempted to think through how we can improve. We end with setting a date for next years retreat.

    These days are pretty full and currently, we do not have a retreat for the elders and deacons and their families, but I see a great need for this. Hopefully this can be implemented soon.

    Thanks for giving me the opportunity to share.

  4. Posted by Philip Doggart on November 30, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    We meet twice a year for a Friday night and Saturday to late afternoon. The Friday is for fellowship and a time of sharing/encouragement. The Saturday is for looking at particular aspects of church life. These weekends are the best meetings we have during the year.

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