For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. 2 Cor 1:20, NIV
This week I am blessed to join with a group of pastors at Covenant Harbor Retreat Center (Lake Geneva, WI). We will enjoy digging into 2 Corinthians under the instruction of Dr. George Guthrie of Union University.
With a couple of exceptions, what our group has in common is that we were privileged to complete doctoral work under Dr. Haddon Robinson. Now, we are committed to sharpening our preaching “saws” in an ongoing way.
What our group does not have in common is:
- The regions where we serve. The map included in this post shows that we come from all over North America: from Houston to Edmonton, Oregon to South Carolina.
- The size of our cities or communities. Some serve in rural communities, others in urban settings. Some are in the suburbs, others in the inner city.
- The size of our churches. Some are part of large churches. Some are in small churches. Others are in new church plants.
- Denominations. Just a sampling of our group includes Assembly of God, Baptist, Evangelical Free Church of America, Independent, and Presbyterian.
- The venues in which we minister. A number have published books. Many have written articles one place or another. Most preach and teach on a weekly basis. Several teach homiletics (preaching) at Bible colleges or seminaries.
If you click through to the map, and then click on each pin, you will find more information about the ministries where we serve.
At Lake Geneva, our week will feature:
- Intense study. Dr. Guthrie recently published a major commentary on 2 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament). He is one of the top NT scholars in the English speaking world and, having previously studied Hebrews with him, we are excited to learn from him again.
- Sermon planning. Our goal is to return from our time together so that we can feed our flocks a rich diet of God’s Word. We use the common vocabulary taught to us by Haddon Robinsons: subject, complement, exegetical idea etc.
- Ministry Updates. Each year when we gather together, we give updates and learn how we can pray for one another.
- Prayer. At the beginning of each day, we spend time in prayer.
- Food. The food service for Covenant Harbor is excellent!
- Long walks and hot coffee. On most evenings, we take a 1.5 mile walk each way to the local Starbucks where we laugh and enjoy one anothers company.
- Hockey Instruction. Several of our number hail from north of the border. Theirs is a colder climate and some of us have taken it upon ourselves to encourage an interest in hockey, which played on ice such as it is, would seem well suited for their arctic habitat. While the Canadians pick up fairly quickly on theological matters, it is taking them longer to understand hockey. It is our ardent hope that over the years those of us from the U.S. can teach them more about the sport. There is some indication they are making progress.
It is not lost on our group that we are uniquely blessed to have such an opportunity to study and be recharged. We are thankful for:
- The support of our churches who encourage us to go.
- A Wisconsin family that generously supports this retreat.
- Gifted theologians who spend a week in Wisconsin in order to equip us.
- The ongoing leadership of several in our group who continue to cast the vision and recruit speakers.
- Administrative support from individuals at Fellowship Church (Greenville) and Blackhawk Church (Madison) who coordinate the logistics of reminding forgetful pastors to register, collecting our funds, and other administrative duties.
The below gallery of pictures were taken across a number of years. This is the second year that Haddon has not been able to make our retreat. We miss him being with us.