Monday, May 2, 2011

Apparently I have beautiful feet! Who knew?

35 faithful men from St. Andrew = a good weekend!
I couldn't make my mind up about where to write this... But I think it really is a "Preacher's Husband" post.
  • How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” (Isaiah 52:7)
My feet have been to the mountains, and I've been bringing some good news!

Wow... that was some weekend in the Rocky Mountain National Park! I think I'm an instant fan of Colorado... I know I'm an instant fan of the men's ministry at St. Andrew United Methodist Church.

I was invited to join the St. Andrew crowd for their men's retreat at the "YMCA of the Rockies" in Estes Park. A couple of the guys met me at the airport and we enjoyed a good visit on the drive up into the mountains. I was instantly impressed by their deep faith and commitment.

Rocky Mt National Park, Saturday afternoon
By the time we reached Estes Park it was snowing. I felt refreshed and invigorated the moment I stepped out of the car. And, having already grown weary of Florida's too-hot, too-early summer, I couldn't have been happier. 

Not surprisingly, "refreshing and invigorating" turned out to be the theme for the weekend. It's always encouraging to establish new relationships at events like this, and the St. Andrew men were no exception. 

Their church, in the Denver suburb of Highland Ranch, is a thriving congregation with over 1,000 in attendance each week and a brand new sanctuary. There are many men's ministry events, such as the "Grill Team", well attended monthly breakfasts, and a variety of mission initiatives - but there is no weekly men's Bible-study or core discipleship-oriented program.

That's why they invited me to lead the retreat, and why my book "GET REAL: a spiritual journey for men:" apparently resonated with their leadership team.

I got to be a wide-eyed tourist for two hours!
Fortunately, the content seemed to communicate well to the participants. The guys were extremely gracious and receptive listeners. It's a good thing, because they had me scheduled to speak for six one-hour sessions plus a short meditation during communion. But, as the Beatles said/sung in "The Magical Mystery Tour", they were "Such a lovely audience, we'd like to take you home with us..."

I told the organizers my presentations depend on small-group gatherings after each "lecture." We managed to fit in five of these, with just 5-6 participants in each cell. And - no surprise to me - this was pretty-much the highlight of the weekend.

So I followed up with a challenge. "I'd like to see several of you pair off to facilitate small Bible-study/support groups," I said. "Invite two or three guys from your congregation who are not involved with the men's ministry, plus one or two who don't even come to church. If just a handful of these groups get going you will both double the reach of the men's ministry and populate it with guys committed to supporting and encouraging one-another."

I love doing this!
This is why weekends like this are so powerful. I could see the men looking around at one another, encouraged and inspired simply by the presence of other faithful disciples. Because absolutely anything is possible when we discover that we're not alone, and that the very power that raised Jesus from the dead stands ready to revolutionize our ministry, transform our church, reach our community and begin to heal our world.

Sounds like a plan to me! I'm already excited about what's next.

God's rich blessings - DEREK

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” (Isaiah 52:7)

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