Elders Retreat

The Suncrest elders took off Friday for our annual retreat.  We drove just up into Michigan and got the chance to spend more time than we normally would praying, reflecting, talking candidly, and enjoying life together.  Our church is shaped by these spiritual leaders in powerful ways, most of which they would never get credit for as they function behind the scenes.

Here were the big pieces of our agenda this year…

Friday Evening

Reflection together on Suncrest’s health.  We have stretched in faith-filled ways over the past few years to reach new people.  2011 is about making sure we are healthy internally with leadership development, more people connecting in groups and contributing by serving.  Our honest assessment was that we need to be patient to work through these and other key systems, knowing these things are so big they will carry us into 2012.

Dreaming about Suncrest’s Future.  What will things look like in 2012 and beyond?  We know our mission will drive us, but the thoughts, dreams, and ideas need more prayer and reflection before we go public with any of them.

Late night, we got in a friendly game of Texas Hold’Em.  Bill Davy won.

Saturday

My Review.  I’m one of the elders, but also accountable to them as the Lead Pastor.  I had answered a questionnaire from them and we took almost 3 hours going over it in the morning.  It was (as always) a healthy and candid exchange.  They encourage me and push me.  They help me see my blind spots.  They ask probing questions.  They help me succeed.  They offer support.  They care deeply about my marriage and my children.  And at the end, they prayed for me that was powerful in ways I could never fully describe.

Succession Planning.  We always have a big item or 2 we try to tackle and this year was Succession Planning.  I tell the elders every year that I still love serving here and picture myself here for decades more.  Still, it would be unwise to exist without the framework of a  plan for how we would respond if something happened to me.  Also, though our track record at retaining staff is stellar, our multi-site approach gives us reason to always be prepared to carry on ministry if there were ever changes in key staff positions.

We had read the book Sticky Teams by Larry Osborne together and discussed aspects central to Suncrest, particularly about how roles for staff and elders evolve as a church continues to grow.

It was a cold and drizzle outside, but we did get in one game of “Horse” on the outdoor court.  On a fluke, I won that one.

Perhaps the most powerful part of the retreat every year is when we check in with each other in a pretty transparent way.  We talk about our year, what is REALLY happening in life (good, bad, and ugly), and how our own spiritual lives are doing.  It’s not necessarily dramatic, but it is powerful…again ending with a great time of praying for one another.

Sunday

I had to head out Saturday late night so I could teach at St. John, but the rest of the elders stayed one more night and then went to worship at our Walkerton Campus together.  It was awesome to have them all at one of our newest campuses to encourage and experience their community.

If you haven’t heard me (or our staff) say it lately, you will soon.  We are very grateful for the elders God has blessed Suncrest with.

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~ by Greg Lee on May 19, 2011.

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