There had been infrequent talk about having a retreat for the adults of our little church, but the talk never got very far. Cost and effort were big deterrents, and because of that, the idea would evaporate from our attentions.
Rhonda (fictitious name) was the person who always brought up the idea. Eventually, creating the retreat became her project. Years of dreaming about it and asking “what would a retreat look like” took root and started growing.
Singlehandedly, Rhonda found a location for the retreat, did research about how to organize a retreat, and planned the details. The retreat became a reality solely because of her ownership and passion for the idea.
The retreat is a good model of what the process of maturation can look like in a church plant. The process has five components which are applicable to any aspect of church life:
- Motivation. This is a combination of dreaming, creativity, and intention which coalesce to become the drive or motivation to make something a reality. For a disciple of Jesus, this is the description of what happens when the desires of the heart begin to change one’s focus.
- Love. A retreat is, by its definition, a convocation of people with single interest. It might be for business-focused people or folks with a recreational goal who may or may not come together with an affection for each other. But in this case, the retreat represents a deepening of relationships and a desire for concentrated time together.
- Accountability. If Rhonda had refused to be responsible for gathering information, making reservations, and selling the idea the retreat would have never formed. No other person had her passion. They were happy to attend but not to organize the event.
- Camaraderie. If love is the glue of the retreat, the language of it is the conversation, confession, eating together, laughing, and praying. You know maturation is occurring when you see greater and greater expression of this.
- Desire for maturity. Last but not least is the compulsion to be deeper in faith and closer in relationship to Jesus. This desire translates to discipline, sacrifice, and intention. The immature do not have these qualities.
Clearly, these qualities do not spring up without careful encouragement and nurturance. A diligent church planter will look for ways to give away opportunities for growth and responsibility. Paul prayed similarly about the Ephesian church when he said “I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light, so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called,” Ephesians 1:18.