About forty-five gathered at Christmount Christian Assembly on March 17-19, 2006 for the 2006 Men’s Retreat.

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Friday Night

Following dinner after everyone’s arrival on Friday night, Bob Grant (with Greg Holmes on the piano) opened the retreat by getting us singing. It always takes Bob a few songs to get everyone to open their lungs but he never lets us slack off when singing praise to the Lord.


Will Purdue brought an excellent devotion to the program setting a spiritual tone for the weekend. President Archie Jenkins then announced that our original guest speaker, Rev. Doug Skinner was unable to make the weekend due to a death in his congregation so Regional Minister Ray Miles graciously agreed to substitute at the last minute.

In his first program, Ray talked about the generations in the church. He pointed out that we often think of generations just in terms of people of different ages. But each generation in our congregation is uniquely different in their outlook on life and on the church because they were shaped by the different events of their life. Ray challenged us to consider how the church, it’s organization and worship can be structured to include and encompass all generations. His presentation struck a cord with many and inspired much discussion during the evening.

Vespers was brought by Rev. Del VonAlmen who reminded us that, like Paul, we are Disciple Men because we are to share the message of Jesus Christ with the world.

After Del’s excellent Vespers everyone adjourned to the ice cream social to share fellowship and discuss the evenings programs.


Saturday Morning

Breakfast was followed by more group singing led by Bob and Greg.

The 2005 Layman of the Year, Charlie Sidener was not able to attend the Retreat due to the death of a close friend. However, John Anderson did an excellent job presenting the morning devotion that Charlie had written. Charlie’s devotion told the story of an old man who takes the time to feed shrimp to seagulls on the beach. He then told us that that man was Captain Eddie Rickenbacker, who as a young man was stranded at sea and saved by capturing seagulls. God provided seagulls to Rickenbacker just as he provides our needs and we should all learn to be as thankful to God for our blessings.

Ray Miles then led the first of two programs on Stewardship. First he asked us to arrange ourselves in small groups of 4 or 5, taking care to mix members from different congregations. Ray pointed out that we don’t talk about money or stewardship among our friends or in the church. Using 1 Timothy 6:10, Ray pointed out that money is not the “root of all evil”, it’s the love of money that is the problem. He asked us to discuss how we learned about money in our families and how we learned about stewardship. He pointed out that in church, members will frequently feel that we “always” talk about money and yet we never talk about the use of money in meaningful ways. He encouraged us to teach stewardship in our congregations and learn not to dread stewardship.

Following a break, Archie Jenkins opened the business meeting. Archie explained the Lifetime Achievement award and named the six recipients of the award this year. He explained that most would receive their award in their local congregations but Ed Tiller was present and Archie presented his Lifetime Achievement award. Rev. Ray Miles then gave a state of the region report noting all of the activities taking place in the region. He also noted that finances had been very tight the last few years. Ray asked that we promote attendance at Summer Camp at Camp Christian and Camp Kicklighter in our congregations.

Saturday Afternoon and Evening

Saturday afternoon is a time for relaxation and fellowship. Some played golf, some hiked, some visited nearby attractions or relatives before returning for dinner.

Following dinner and another round of singing, Ray Miles continued his presentation on stewardship. Again using small groups he asked us to discuss the individuals that have made an impression on us as stewards. He pointed out that stewardship is more than money, but never less than money – in other words we are called to give our time and gifts, but also our money. He asked us to think about and discuss what it means to be a steward and in the following discussion pointed out three ways people think of stewardship. Some think of stewardship as a management or overseer responsibility others as a caretaker. But perhaps the best way to think of stewardship is as a partnership with God.

Rev. Del VonAlmen again brought vespers, telling the story of “The Piece of Trash that became a Missionary.” Del shared a life changing story from his early ministry when he met a man he at first thought of as a “Piece of Trash” that he nevertheless took in, fed and housed. This man was changed by Del and his congregation and became a missionary. Del challenged us not to judge people but to “do unto the least of these.”

Sunday Morning

A hearty breakfast with plentiful coffee was followed by a spiritual wakeup group singing led by Bob and Greg.

Rev. Tom Money then led us in Bible Study from the Book of Revelation. He pointed out that although the book is set in 1st Century images, it speaks to us today. He centered the study mostly around Chapter 5 explaining that the major theme is that “God is in charge and has a plan!” He recommended a book on Revelations: “Reversed Thunder: The Revelation of John and the Praying Imagination” by Eugene H. Peterson.

Ray Miles led the final program session on “Making Men’s Ministries Work.” Ray encouraged us not to be afraid of spirituality when planning men’s ministries. “Men like to study the bible too.” He also encouraged the use of work projects to build fellowship. But work projects must have a purpose, they must have meaning. Men’s ministry needs to have a cause, a purpose, a sense of mission. And Men’s ministry should include recreation.

Following the program, the Retreat closed with Sunday Worship.
Medie Still gave the invocation followed by a wonderful solo by Milt Summerall who sang “He Touched Me”.

Rev. Andy Campbell preached on John 2: 13-17 where Jesus cleansed the Temple. In this passage we see a Jesus as a man of decisive action “and we like it!” But what made Jesus angry was the way “things” had become more important than the worship of God. And then asked what this “active Jesus” would find in the temple of our hearts and encouraged us to do a “spring cleaning” of our hearts.


Departure

Following lunch everyone headed to their homes refreshed by a wonderful weekend of perfect mountain weather, great fellowship, inspiring programs and spiritual worship.

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