Ready for a Non-Retreat Retreat?

February 5, 2009 in Headlines

Our meeting room - Greg wanted the pink flowers.

The Fiscal Support Team normally meets this weekend to “Review, Plan, and Pray” (RP&P).  But, “Things just ain’t the same ’round here,” someone recently said about NeoXenos, and they’re so right!

We’re spending two days in RP&P, beginning February 6th (this Friday), and ending Sunday morning. So many ministries, so much growth, so many changes, and yet so little time!  Yet by the end of the weekend everyone should get at least a good picture of what God’s doing here, if not a clear picture.

Many conversations will swirl around this area over the weekend, for sure. Got kids? Bring it on! We're lining up some babysitters.

Lessons from Veggie Tales

Phil Vischer, the Veggie Tales man.

Phil Vischer, the founder of Veggie Tales, provides an excellent framework for our discussions (listen to his cool lecture online). Phil rose to great international prominence through Veggie Tales and the ministry he built around it. But then his business crashed, and he landed in a one-man office sitting alone, day after day, for over a year, wondering what happened. He was so full of vision! Where did it all go?

He once lived by this passage:

Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained…  Proverbs 29:18

After the business collapsed, he was so defeated. Why did God give him such a powerful vision for ministry, only to end in such disaster? “How could God stand back from something that was doing so much good, and watch it collapse?” he wondered.

[callout style='float: left']Quick Links: Hotel Accommodations, Veggie Tales Speech used, below.[/callout]

For a year he struggled in failure until he finally figured out Proverbs 29:18 — he understood it incorrectly.  It didn’t teach that we should devise a “vision” and push it, the way a business might create a vision for a product line. The word really is “revelation,” as in “God’s revelation.” And there was his problem: he was pushing Phil’s vision, not following God’s revelation. The verse actually reads, “Where there is no revelation, the people are drawn away.”

Phil’s story is a marvelous description of what we face here at NeoXenos in 2009. Our vision for this ministry is really quite paltry and unimportant compared to God’s revelation about this ministry. Phil quotes C.S. Lewis on the issue: “He who has God plus many things has nothing more than he who has God alone.” What a sober reminder of what makes life work!

And this is the task before us for this FST Non-Retreat: not to create a vision or great plans for our future. Rather, we need to understand what God is revealing about our ministry, how God has been leading us, and thus our future comes into better focus. Frankly, we’re forced into a position of “planning without plans” in this ministry, because everything we’ve seen and experienced in the past year has been largely unanticipated, but certainly not unwelcome!

It’s all very exciting, but do we appreciate why it’s working so well? Certainly it isn’t any human genius at work here.

Great Expectations

The minigolf course is an essential tool for planning sessions.

The approach for this year’s retreat is very open-handed, asking for God’s revelation. Much has already been given, quite generously. But do we appreciate it, and can we articulate it? This is the challenge for leaders and workers in every ministry this weekend. We’re starting over at NeoXenos — but not really, because we’ve already started something, or perhaps it’s better to say God has already started something, and we’re playing catch-up.

Can we survive another year of so many changes and new directions? Yes! We should pray for something so great! Having tasted the excitement of God’s revelation like this past year, it’s impossible to return to plotting our own course, no matter how exciting our vision may be.

Here’s the lineup and proposed approach for this FST Non-Retreat:

  • Friday, 8 pm – Keith and Mark lead us into a Bible study to grasp two major currents that are carrying us along: Meetings Without Boundaries, and Dangerous Christianity. Hopefully we will have the “Battle for the Bible” DVD available for understanding an historical framework for these two currents.
  • Saturday, 10 am – Brief summary of discoveries from the recent retreat with the Sphere Leader’s Under-shepherd Ministry (SLUM). This includes some radical material from Roland Allen’s famous books, “Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or Ours?” and “The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church.” Then a brief overview of our financial picture by spiritual hit-man Greg Morscher, so we can make some financial pledges for the upcoming year.
  • Saturday day & afternoon – for some, just plain fun; for our ministry groups, the opportunity to talk and prepare for the evening’s presentations; for one-and-all, a period of badly-needed, carefree fellowship (without demonstrators outside, perhaps).
  • Saturday 7pm – ministry group presentations and reviews.
  • Sunday ??am – A surprise that will be remembered for some time to come! (Led by Joel & Co.)

This is a Non-Retreat Retreat because we are in fact pushing forward this weekend to break new ground and rejoice together as a fellowship over the great advances the Lord has brought us!

BE SURE TO LINE UP YOUR OWN HOTEL ROOM! You may not think so now, but you’ll find yourself growing less and less inclined to leave the Holidome once you get there! There’s not only a vast pool, but also miniature golf, ping-pong, pool tables, and many other countless distractions and ways to enjoy the Non-Retreat!

Read more about it and get the details from our Talk Line!

Grab a bed while available! BE SURE TO ASK FOR THE $70 XENOS PRICE! And no jumping on the beds!

2 responses to Ready for a Non-Retreat Retreat?

  1. This is gonna be one hell of a weekend! I am excited!

  2. I love that Phil Vischer guy! His story is reassuring during these “church without walls” times that we just need to keep walking with God and waiting on Him. If He is all we have…’s a lot! Also, the part about seeking revelation instead of coming up with a vision makes a lot of sense.
    I also really appreciated the Battle for the Bible video!

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