A lot of the men in Restoration headed out to Middleburg this past weekend. There was a 40 acre field, surrounded by rock walls, nestled on a hilly rise, with views of the mountains around.
There was rain.
And a beautiful sunrise, brilliant clouds. We watched the weather roll in hour after hour. We had dueling camp fires. We pitched about 30 different tents, including a big one that came in handy when that downpour finally came.
Over the course of 24 hours, we heard from 4 men in our church. They talked about building a relationship with your father, giving God permission to work in your life, living with integrity, and bearing God’s image in community. We have some Godly, vulnerable, wise guys that walk around in this community. I loved listening to what God had said to them through His Scripture. And I loved talking and praying about it in small groups.
I think for all of us, it was a needed time to connect with other men. The agenda afforded lots of time to talk, to play wiffle ball, to knock things off PVC pipe, to look at a gun, to listen to Coldplay, to burn stuff, and to talk. My face was sore from laughing and chatting. I loved hearing so many different stories. I loved the poundage of steak and bacon that was bought.
In the words of Wendell Berry, we are not alone. One of the gifts of this church is the opportunity to build relationships with brilliant, fun, engaging people– men and women alike. That certainly happened in a field in Middleburg. I hope it happens for you.
TFC Church Planters
There is another community to which I belong. Over the past 10 years, The Falls Church has planted 7 churches. The guys who started them, Rector them, or who are in the shoot to plant another one, get together 3-4 times a year at a farm in Linden. We roll in after our Sunday duties [and after we have put kids to bed]. There is dessert, a fire, camp chairs. Each of us gets a chance to update what is happening in our church and family. On Monday morning, we get to sleep in a bit, then run or fish [we are divided on which is a better early morning activity]. We always spend some time talking through the Scriptures and praying for each other. These prayer times are significant for me. Then we talk strategically about ‘what’s next’. Who is getting ready to launch, or build, or hire, or change locations? How do you deal with conflict? How do you serve and utilize your vestry? Lots of nuts and bolts that young clergy need to think about. I am grateful for the wisdom and leadership of John Yates. He is generous with his time and experience.
So lots of time in the country for me over the past few days. I am grateful to God for the folks He has put in my life. And I am grateful for ways He is building in to you, too.