We recently had our annual church staff retreat. Each year we rent a house somewhere, and our families spend a week together. We eat together. Play together. Pray together. Work together. Most of our general planning and vision casting for the coming year happens during this week.
More often than not I am one of the first ones to leave at the end of the week. I usually have something back home requiring my attention. This year I had planned a couple of days off following the retreat. I had not been away from church on a Sunday since February. That is a really long stretch for me. Even though I didn’t preach every Sunday during the pandemic, I felt I needed to be there. Having the extra couple of days allowed me to reflect on some things from the previous week. Here are four of them I want to share with you.
What If We Lived With The People We Work With?
We usually live in the same community or town with our co-workers, but rarely do we live under the same roof. When work was over each day, there were the same people. There are things that can only be learned in the closeness of living under the same roof. There are considerations that must be given that might not happen otherwise. Conversations take place that only happens in a home environment. There are things we learn about one another that help us adjust the way we work with them. I am not suggesting we should, but living with the people we work with would certainly change the work environment.
Watching Children Bond Is A Teaching Moment
Children are all about having fun. Watching them spend a week together and the dynamics of their early relationship development could teach us as adults. They are not without conflict, but they are without grudges and bitterness. The adults are more likely to hold grudges about something with their children than the children are. As adults, we could learn to have more fun and get over things quickly.
I Missed Them When They Were Gone
Before leaving, one of the little girls came and hugged my neck and told me bye. As she walked away, I thought about how I would miss having them around the house playing after they left. A couple of my grandchildren were there, and I knew I would miss them. What I realized is that I missed everyone. I missed the noise. I missed the laughter. I missed the meals and conversations. I work with these people, but I also love these people. We were meant to be in relationship with each other. Isolation is dangerous. It doesn’t take a long look around to find the dangers of loneliness.
Worship Is A Bond
We have been doing a time of prayer and worship live on Facebook each Wednesday evening. Since we were all together, we decided to gather around a piano in the house and sing together and pray. It was a powerful moment. A single focus of worship overcame job titles and responsibilities. It overpowered differences of opinion and expectations. Worshipping together brought us together in a way that nothing else could. It just reinforced one of the things we had to talk about during our meetings.
I encourage you to take time to reflect on things in your life. Don’t walk away from a conference or a retreat and check it off your list. You will benefit very little if you do. Take the time to allow certain things to rise to the top and then see how you should move forward.