We try to structure a Friday night/Saturday morning retreat into at least four sessions (with breaks and refreshments in between) and as many as six.
Often a church will have a specific request as to what we should deal with in this retreat. It might be “Church conflict and how to resolve them,” “The basics of deacon ministries,” or “The relationship between the ministers and the deacons.”
But if the leadership gives me a blank slate, some of the topics we try to cover include the following:
a) The word “deacon” means “servant.” Deal with it. So, we talk about principles of servanthood.
b) Deacons are inwardly focused. They minister to the congregation. So, we need to talk about the Church–whose it is, its strategic role, and our service to it.
c) Principles of leadership. In other words, how do we get things done in church.
d) Basic Christianity: a love for the Lord Jesus, a love for the Church, and a love for the pastors. If either of these is weak, we are in trouble.
e) What exactly are the deacons to do in the church? Administer its affairs? Run the committees? Does Scripture give us any guidance? It does, more by what it does not say than what it does.
f) The two toughest verses in the Bible for preachers and deacons.
g) Principles of prayer. You will do nothing in your spiritual life that is more about faith than when you stop to pray.
h) And I’ll tell about some of the most effective deacons I worked with over the years, men like Rudy Hough, Nick Carrone, and Edwin Logan. You’ll be meeting them near the Throne some day.
Questions I’m sometimes asked about deacons retreats:
1. “How much do you charge?”
Answer: I charge nothing, but if the church is able, it pays my expenses and gives an honorarium as the Lord enables them.
2. How far in advance do we have to schedule you?
Answer: Click here to view my speaking schedule and find a couple of dates that would work for you, then give me a call or email and we’ll go from there. I’m in my 70s now and the doctor says my health is great. But I try not to over-schedule myself. My wife thinks her retired husband ought to be home from time to time.
3. Could you stay around and preach to our church the following Sunday?
Answer: Nothing would make me happier. In fact, if we do a deacons retreat on Friday night/Saturday morning, I’m available for a Saturday night activity as well as Sunday morning. I love to speak to young people and/or children, and to draw them all. They love this, and being a grandfather of 8 wonderful young ones, I love it too.