Men’s Staff Retreat: Practicing What We Preach

Event: Arctic Barnabas Men’s Staff Retreat and Spiritual Renewal

Location: Alaska Christian Retreats (Soldotna)

Volunteers: Clay Gatlin (Speaker), Seth Baker (Worship), & Mike Reberg (Cook)

Arctic Barnabas Ministries is all about using the airplane to spread the Gospel & encourage pastors in places that are hard to reach!

As missionaries our goal at ABM is to reach out and support church planters, our pastors, missionaries & teachers who need serious connection, strength & encouragement. But ABM wouldn’t be effective if we never took the time to “practice what we preach”. It’s been said that true ministry is the natural outflow of our personal walk & transformation with Jesus. So, this past month the missionary staff men of ABM carved out some time for personal renewal & spiritual focus through teaching, quiet time, worship, and prayer; renew our strength through rest, reconnect with each other by spending time together away from the work environment and just as brothers in Christ.

Here’s what our ABM Missionary Men’s Retreat Coordinator Mark Mowery wrote as he reflected on the retreat:

“This event was a challenge for me to lead. Not only am I the new person on staff and have never lead a men’s retreat but I also found myself in need of refocus and spiritual renewal. I had been making the ministry within ABM my priority and my identity; in other words, my idol. I was feeling frustrated with things not going as I planned or thought they should go and was beginning to get bitter towards people within our staff. God used this time to show me that I have been spending my time and energy serving the Lord out of a heart of selfishness and obligation instead of getting to know the God I am trying to serve and then serving out of love and thankfulness.

My work in this ministry had become self-centered instead of Christ-centered. My focus must be on being connected to the Vine, not in producing fruit (John 15). God never called us to be fruit produces but to only ABIDE in the Vine and He will produce the fruit in us and through us. If I am not seeing fruit produced in my life then I don’t need to be doing more or working harder to produce it, but I must take a step back from my work and see where I have become disconnected from the Vine.

This retreat has helped me to realize that my task is to focus on living a Christ-centered life over any ministry event, organizational structure, expectations, and even family. With Christ at the center and a heart focused on knowing Him and abiding in Him than I can trust that everything else will be in accordance with His plan and purpose and that He will produce fruit in me and through me that His joy will be made complete in me and my joy may be full.”

Many thanks to Mark for his bold authenticity in sharing about his experience at the ABM retreat!

2014 Mens Retreat Collage

To join ABM as a Ministry Partner and give to the ongoing missions work of Arctic Barnabas Ministries click here!