by Mike Durbin
PLYMOUTH, MI – Twelve pastors followed the example of Jesus withdrew from the hustle and bustle of life to rest, reflect, and refocus on what God is doing in our lives and what he is calling us to do. A four member team from Tarrant Baptist Association in Texas led us through a combination of active challenges and spiritual reflection around the theme of the retreat: re:Focus, the Journey of a Lifetime.
• adjust the focus of (a lens or one's eyes).
• focus (attention or resources) on something new or different.
Pastor Loren Stutzman of Holland Baptist Church shared: “For me the journey was exactly that. The format was such that it forced me to examine not just my ministry, but more importantly my relationship with God. What I realized was that I had backed into my role as a "Senior Pastor" with my eyes firmly focused on the previous pastor and his mistakes, and a determination not to repeat the past. My driving force was a reaction to the past, and I was trying to build a future in the shadow of the past. I came away from the conference with a much clearer vision of being chosen and called by God for such a time as this. God's glory is now my ultimate desire and goal. I thank God for the opportunity to get re-focused.”
Significant discoveries and breakthroughs were experienced during the retreat. Pastor Rod Walker of Harmony Baptist Church shared: “I’m blessed and refreshed!! What a great time of encouragement with fellow Pastors at Bambi Lake. It was a time to regroup and gather ideas and thoughts. My transformational goal is to love my God ....MORE!! Thank you BSCM (Pastor Mike Durbin) and the team of Texan friends!
During the retreat, participants were given critical time to spend time alone with God remembering spiritual markers of the past and where God is leading in the future. The focus was on our personal relationship with Christ and hearing from Him. Pastor Jim Stolt of Praise Community Church shares: “It was an incredible experience. I’m already looking forward to next time. Thanks again for inviting me. God really used it in my life to restore me and energize my faith.”
One of the vivid realities of the time was the bonding that took place between the pastors. Most did not know each other before the retreat. They came from different cities across Michigan, but their bond with each other in Christ quickly took over as they listened to one another’s stories and prayed for each other. Many of the moments we shared will never be repeated as we respect one another’s privacy, but deep connection took place as pastors ministered to pastors and were ministered to by pastors.
Jeff King, pastor of Ainsworth Baptist Church captures many of our hearts as he shares “Thank you! Met some wonderful gentlemen, enjoyed some great teaching, and had a refreshing, reflective walk with God. Been awhile since I've done that. God is good!”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mike Durbin is the State Evangelism Director for the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. Before joining the state convention staff, Mike served as Church Planting Catalyst and Director of Missions in Metro Detroit since 2007. He also has served as a pastor and bi-vocational pastor in Michigan, as well as International Missionary to Brazil.