Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Deacon Retreat...

Every year we take some time for our Deacons at Cornerstone to retreat for a time of personal recommitment and spiritual renewal. It's one of my favorite events each year and I feel like it sets the pace for where our church is going. For several years we would retreat to the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park. We would rent a vacation home for the weekend and our times together were always wonderful experiences of fellowship and prayer. As our size has grown we have had to move into larger facilities to accomodate the additional deacons that we have been bringing along. For the second year in a row, we traveled to Larkspur to stay at our Colorado Baptist owned camp--The Ponderosa. It's not quite as nice as the digs that we enjoyed at the YMCA but it fits our budget much better.

This year's retreat was primarily a series of brief Bible studies focusing on the person and the work of a deacon. Much time was devoted to personal and corporate prayer and we attempted to prayerfully make application of what was being revealed from the Scriptures. Let me share a brief outline of what we experienced.

Friday Night: 7pm--Personal Prayer, 7:30pm--A Deacon's Character (1 Timothy 3), 8:00pm--A Deacon's Growth, 8:30pm--Personal Prayer, 9:00pm--A Deacon's Power (Acts 8:4-13), 9:30pm--A Deacon's Commitment (Acts 6:8-7:60). The commitment session was held around a camp fire where we received communion together. The idea was for each of us to embrace the courage and love of Stephen in becoming willing to die for our Lord and for the people that He has given us to serve. We finished up with a study on the Parable of the Talents that led us to begin viewing the people of Cornerstone as treasures (talents) that God has given us to care for and to grow.

Saturday: 8:30--Personal Prayer, 9:00--A Deacon's Message (Acts 8:25-40), 9:30--A Deacon's Koinonia, 10:00--A Deacon's CARE, 10:30--Selection of Family CARE Groups. This is the time when our Deacon's personally and prayerfully select the families that they will be caring for throughout the year. 1:00--A Deacon's Vision. We finished up at 2:00 clock by heading down to the 40 foot climbing tower where several made it up the cargo net and bravely came back down on the zip line.

We had some powerful experiences of prayer during the weekend and I think that we all came back with a passion to faithfully care for the families that God has brought to Cornerstone. Our Deacons are tasked with the responsibility of providing CARE for the families that they select. CARE is an acronym that stands for C-haplain, A-ccountability, R-esources, and E-ncouragement. These are the bottom-line services that our Deacons provide. We consider Deacons to be the primary guardians of the fellowship (unity) of our church. During the time that we provide for response in each of our worship services, I often have several of our Deacons join me at the front of the worship center to receive those who are making decisions and to pray for those who would come forward for prayer. Cornerstone has one of the best Deacon ministries of any church that I have ever been a part of. These men are truly my partners in ministry.

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