Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Team Time. Dream Time.

Our Staff Retreat was this past weekend and we had a blast. It was a great mix of productivity and relaxation. I thought I'd share a little bit of the weekend (really just a Sunday afternoon through Monday night) with you. I've included an "open" letter that I wrote to my staff prior to departure as well as some pictures from the retreat itself. Our primary goals for our time together were to conduct a ministry analysis and increase our constantly growing staff unity. We have such a close staff and absolutely love each other. There is such a high level of trust and respect among us. We are committed to "pratice what we preach" as we attempt to call our church to function as a beautiful faith family and serve each other as Christ did. It has been an incredible first 2+ months.

I've been out of the blogging loop for so long. I hope that this entry will spring board a more consistent pattern of posting in the future. I just had to post about our staff. They truly are a blessing!

The letter I sent to the staff:

To The Best Staff in the Solar System, How does one express what an honor it is to serve arm and arm, back to back with fine servants like you? Your talent is amazing and yet it is your passion that I find so encouraging. I have to pinch myself every morning as I pull into the parking lot. The blessing given to me by you is an undeserved gift for which I thank God regularly.

Almost 30 years ago, a father of four and a machinist named Jerry Carroll made me an offer I could not refuse. He told me right before I took the mound of the biggest game of my short life that if our little league team, The San Carlos Reds, won the city championship he would pay for me to go to Church Camp. We won. I struck out 13. I went to camp. My life has never been the same.

A decade later God made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. He asked me to follow him. I was baptized and for almost 20 years I have known the love, hope, presence, and power of Jesus Christ. I could have no greater blessing.

I wake up each morning passionate about the vocation to which God has called me. Whether I am preaching, encouraging, serving, or leading, I get to do what I love most. I love Christ’s church. I love communicating the work of the church, the hopes of the church, and the struggles of the church. I am blessed to be able to do that which is my passion.

It is because of my passion for the local church, and specifically OUR local church, Lake Cities Church of Christ, that I’m am beyond excited for our little retreat the next two days!

I hope you are equally as hope filled about the potential progress our time together can produce. Thank you for your willingness to participate with me in the strategic thinking process. Your partnership in this task not only benefits me, but I am confident that it will produce plenty of fruit in our entire faith family.

While our time together is brief, I truly believe that it will be blessed. I have provided you with a “tentative” time map of the next two days. As you know by now, the combination of my being chronologically challenged and open to the Spirit makes for a need to be very flexible. I do hope to stay on track as much as possible as I want to accomplish every objective and get us home at a decent hour on Monday night. That being said, this process is open to suggestions and if you feel the Spirit moving in you a need for us to pause or take a different direction, by all means, share that with us. This is “our” retreat, not Joel’s retreat. We are so blessed!

May the blessings we have received be used to bring glory to God, the only one who is worthy of the glory! And may we, the Lake Cities Staff, be blessed as we take the pilgrimage of which the next two days hold, the journey on which good is never enough.

“On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell will not overcome it!”Matthew 16:18

You are loved!

Loving and Serving,


Here are some pictures from the weekend:

Emily & Rainey play in a sand trap

Matt chips around

Stephen & Stephanie relax by the pool

Kim & Karen chit chat

Stephen & I hard at work

Some quiet time by the lake

A Great Staff!

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