This past weekend, I experienced a rather fascinating, mostly-unplanned intersection of ministry life. Those of us who lead know well that experts tell us we need to take a rest from our ministry work, filling our own bucket from time to time. We also know that leadership experts extol the value of developing extracurricular bonds with our team members outside of our work. Additionally, we all want to add value to those we serve. My 4-day-weekend was an intersection of all of these things.
I have written before about my annual BSL Women’s Retreat that I cherish each Autumn. Deep, spiritual work is done while I enjoy time in far Northern Wisconsin, hours away from home. I attended the first year with a personal friend. Subsequent to that, I have told others about this phenomenal getaway. As a result, some mothers and volunteers with whom I work have begun attending.
It took my breath away this year to see what God had orchestrated. I try to respect people with the confidentiality they deserve, so not all of these attendees were aware of their connection to our ministry. Not including myself, 14% of those in attendance at this year’s retreat were either parents of children with special needs, benefactors, or volunteers involved with our organization. To have that common thread running through the heart of these women, growing together, both those who are typically served alongside those who typically serve, gave an incredibly beautiful picture of the Body of Christ.
The triple bond that developed began in the usual way. We worked hard together. Whether it was co-laboring as parents or building our ministry through service, we grew in our relationship with one another as we worked hard. At retreat, we got extra opportunities to play hard together. Boating, horseback riding, hiking, skeet shooting, and crafting offered the type of bonding that makes memories. New friendships developed and grew. But the game-changer with a retreat like this was the opportunity to pray together, again and again. Even in the car, some of us had occasion to pray together. Coming together to speak to our Mighty Father, sharing concerns, and an earnest desire to grow in our walk enriched our prayer life.
An experience of this type, apart from our usual special needs ministry work, humanizes each of us. Leaders, participants and volunteers become fellow sojourners and friends. Rather than seeing people as an event or means to get much-needed help, we are able to come together as family members in Christ. This only enriches and deepens the commitment involved with our ministry work.
I pray that each of you get the opportunity to attend such an extracurricular event with your adherents, volunteers and benefactors.
QUESTION: What sorts of ways do you connect with your team members, participants and donors outside of your typical ministry work?