So, what was I doing in St. Louis when I lost my ’04 Accord and broke my sternum? Fighting a 3-headed monster, of course! For some weeks my team and I had been concocting a three-phase weekend event for the purposes of collaborating with The Carver Project, hosting a GFM Faculty Gathering and enjoying a 24 hour staff team retreat! I’ll take these in opposite order in the next couple of blog posts. The overall monstrosity involved teaming up with the undergrad Central Region to invite all the Christian faculty members connected to our ministries to St. Louis for The Spring Carver Conversation.
If you’re going to get your whole team together, over half of which travel from 2 – 7 hours away, it would be great to make it worth while! If we’re going to tackle a challenge, better make it a beast! Thus, the triple whammy of a community event, a faculty gathering and a staff retreat! We enjoyed staying in historic Soulard in St. Louis in the 9th Street Abbey Rectory (now an Air B&B). After hosting our Faculty Gathering on Saturday morning, we settled into a full 24 hours of personal and team retreating around the theme of Wisdom. My staff were initially wary of a retreat on the heals of two other events! But we had a very enriching time (on top of some wonderful time with faculty).
Retreat began after lunch on Saturday. Everyone was given about 4 hours in personal, guided retreat time off on their own. My barometer for how that time went came when we gathered at the Rectory and Kevin led us in a reflection on our time in Proverbs chapter 8. “Tim, this was a total bomb, if no one talks.” “Tim, what do you do if your entire team says this was a bad use of time and resources?” “Tim, what else could you see yourself doing vocationally if this goes badly and gets back to your supervisor?”
You know, I’m not sure I actually had any of those thoughts. My retreat time was actually an extended nap nursing my cracked sternum. I’d spent soooo much time in Proverbs 8 all Spring. I knew there was a trove of rich ministry and formational insight packed in that famous chapter. Would the staff find it? Found it, they certainly did (think Yoda accent)! The conversation was wonderfully engaging. I intentionally listened for every staff voice on my team. The sharing was a chorus of stimulating insight from every last person. I have a truly earnest team of individuals who are passionate about knowing God and full of discernment between mere knowledge and experiential wisdom.
If you need a new theological theme in your devotional world, I’d recommend the book of Proverbs. Start by reading chapter 8 and introducing yourself to Sophia – the personification of wisdom. Once you’ve traced that great theme (read a chapter of Proverbs each day for a month – 31 chapters) then look at what Paul says about wisdom in the opening chapters of 1 Corinthians.
So that was ONE of our monster’s heads! We’ll lop off the other two in future posts – there’s just too much to take in here. Thank you so much for your prayers for my ongoing recovery. I’m making good progress, but admittedly living life, 6 hour Tylenol dosages at a time. It’s coming up on 8pm as I compose this. My last blast was 3pm and I’m starting to feel it!
Have a terrific week!