Christmount Christian Assembly
April 4-6, 2008

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The program "Ordinary Men Called to Leadership" was presented by Rev. Dr. Jerry Gladson, who focused on the Old Testament, and Rev. David Grandgeorge, who focused on the New Testament.

Rev. Dr. Jerry Gladson
Jerry was educated at Southern College (B.A. Theology) and Vanderbilt University (M.A., Ph. D., Old Testament). He has served as pastor in many locations through the southeast and California. He is currently teaching at Columbia Theological Seminary and the Psychological Studies Institute has also taught at Southern College in Collegedale, Tennessee; Atlanta Center for Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California; Chapman University, Orange, California; La Sierra University, Riverside California; San Francisco Theological Seminary and Disciples Seminary Foundation in Claremont, California and has served as Vice-President and Academic Dean at the Psychological Studies Institute, Atlanta, Georgia.

He is the author of seven books and more than one hundred articles of a professional and popular nature. Presently serving as the Associate Theological Editor of the Journal of Psychology and Christianity, Jerry is also a member of the Society of Biblical Literature, Catholic Biblical Association, and the Academy of Parish clergy. Currently he serves as Senior Pastor of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Marietta, Georgia. Jerry is ordained in both the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ.

Rev. David Grandgeorge
is the pastor of Guyton Christian Church.  David comes to Guyton from Richmond, Kentucky, where he was a program manager for Foothills Community Action Partnership.  He holds a Masters of Divinity degree from Lexington Theological Seminary, Lexington, Kentucky.

David is a native of Stuttgart, Arkansas. After college at Arkansas State University, he was a farmer representing the fourth generation on a family farm, raising mostly rice and soybeans.  In 1983, he moved to Perryville, Kentucky, where he served as pastor of the Christian Church while attending seminary.  Following graduation in 1987, he served as pastor at First Christian Church in Berea, Kentucky.

His background also includes stints working for the Madison County (Kentucky) Health Department, and Habitat for Humanity of Madison County.  He has two adult children, a son and a daughter. His interests include bird watching, football officiating, and flying.

Friday Night - April 4

The weather was a bit wet and rainy but the fellowship was warm and the program was outstanding as the Men of the Georgia Region gathered at Christmount Christian Assembly to the theme "Ordinary Men Called to Leadership."

DSC_2993.JPGChristmount put on their usual great spread of food as the retreat gathered for dinner on Friday night.  Fellowship is an important part of the event and meal times are make and renew friendships with Disciples from all around the State.

DSC_3000.JPGEach session of any Men's Retreat beings with a singing warm-led this year as in past years by Bob Grant with Greg Holmes on Piano.  The Men love to sing and the hymns and songs Bob and Greg lead set the tone for each session.

DSC_3010.JPG Dr. Jerry Gladson and Rev. David Grandgeorge alternated sessions during the weekend to bring us a better understanding of what it means be an ordinary man called to leadership.  In the first session on Friday Night, Jerry talked about Jeremiah, a man without a country.  Jeremiah was called by God to deliver a message that alienated him from his family, friends and country.  He resisted the Lord but eventually accepted his call and although his life was not easy he persevered and carried out God's will.  Jerry asked "What do we do when we hear God's call?"  Quoting David Sarnoff founder of RCA he encouraged the men to "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."

DSC_3014.JPG A Friday Night tradition is an Ice Cream Social which is followed by Vespers, or evening worship. 
This year Vespers was conducted by Rev. Charlie Cochran.  Charlie read where King David danced before the Lord and some, including his wife, thought that his actions were shameless.  But David said that he had to worship the Lord.  Charlie suggested that many men today were "bored for the Lord".  He said that a Christian man wasn't called to simply be a "good boy" but that we should be on fire for the Lord and celebrate him.  He encouraged the men to be "a little dangerous" for the Lord.

Saturday Morning - April 5

DSC_3021.JPG Following a big breakfast of bacon, eggs, grits, biscuits and gravy and another warm-up of songs from Bob and Greg, Saturday morning began with a devotion from 2007 Layman of the Year winner Bob Grant.  Bob used Psalm 121 - I will lift up my eyes unto the hills . . ." as his scripture.  Bob pointed out that we are all brothers and we are not alone - as men we have each other and we have God!

DSC_3023.JPGRev. David Grandgeorge then presented the second session on Ordinary Men Called to Leadership working from the New Testament.  David talked about how Jesus' disciples were very ordinary men.  They had weaknesses and faults and yet they followed Jesus. 

Over time the leadership of the church passed from the Disciples to James (Brother of Jesus) to Paul and then to more ordinary people.  David pointed out that it is the quiet, loving leadership of ordinary people that solve problems in the Church.  At right is the list of attributes of these ordinary but effective leaders that the group developed.

DSC_3020.JPGFollowing a short break, President John Anderson opened the business meeting of the retreat.  He called on DSC_3031.JPG Rev. Ray Miles for a report from the Region.  Ray pointed out the number of congregations with new pastors and the number of new congregations in formation around the state.  He also said that Eagles Landing hopes to have a Certificate of Occupancy and begin worshiping in their new facility by the first of May.

John then led a discussion on the location for the next Men's retreat.  The group may try a different location than Christmount - watch for news.

Saturday Afternoon everyone is free to explore the mountains, shop, hike the hills or just relax.

Saturday Evening

DSC_3040.JPGSession three was introduced by V.P. Will Perdue.  Jerry Gladson chose another character from the Old Testament, King David, to teach the men about "Fumbling the Call."  David badly fumbled his call from God when he abused his power and sinned with Bathsheba.  God did forgive David, but that forgiveness did not prevent the consequences that followed David's failure.  However, despite loosing his son and facing may other problems David persevered and continued to serve the Lord.  The story of David shows what God can do with a flawed person.  None of us is perfect, but when we fumble, we must get up and keep going.

DSC_3044.JPG Following the program we moved to the fellowship area of the guest lodge for hot chocolate and evening vespers again brought by Charlie Cochran.  Charlie read the story of Jesus Cleansing the Temple from Mark 11:15 and pointed out that nobody could call Jesus a weak man.  Jesus spent much of his ministry challenging the Seduces and his bravery in the face of death was unquestionable.  Charlie pointed out that if we are to be Christian Men, we need to get outside our comfort zone and do what God calls us to do - even if it is slightly dangerous.

Sunday Morning - April 6

DSC_3047.JPGDSC_3046.JPGSunday morning the weather cleared and provided a wonderful Lord's day.  David Grandgeorge made the final presentation of the retreat by talking about the Dimensions of Leadership from a publication of the Nebraska Co-operative Extension service.  David pointed out that the Church has understood Servant Leadership for years but Business is just now starting to use the language of the Church in describing good leadership practices.  From this extensions service document, David explained that leaders must be:

  • Called - we are all called to something.
  • Good at listening and awareness - both to others and to God.
  • Have empathy, be compassionate, humble and broken.
  • Be healers
  • Have vision
  • Focused on Growth
  • Focused on Building Community

DSC_3049.JPGDSC_3051.JPGFollowing David, Medie Still began our worship time with a devotion that was an excellent summary of the presentations by both Gladson and Grandgeorge.

Rev. Dr. Ray Miles then led the men in communion followed by the traditional friendship circle and dismissal.

The worship, fellowship and study of this weekend helped all involved to return to their congregations more focused on leadership and our responsibilities to Christ and our congregations.

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