by Steve Henderson
1. Expect to be enriched by deepening friendships
Pastors and their wives need friendship. Often that can be hard to come by in a local church for many different reasons. Over the years, ICC pastors’ retreats have offered pastors and their families a place to find comrades who care—folks who are in a similar ministry context with similar needs. We’re not a denomination or an administration. We’re all about pastors and their lives, and seeing Christ transform us together. We can listen to one another, pray for one another, love one another as we make new friends and strengthen connections that were made in previous settings.
2. Expect to be challenged by the Scriptures
ICC places a high value on the exposition of the Word of God. We are convinced that God has entrusted his word to us to transform our lives. In our sessions together with Glen or in our workshops, we focus on providing a model of biblical exposition and application. When the sword of the Word is wielded by God’s spirit-empowered servants, it cuts the flesh. It challenges our hearts and souls. But like a scalpel in the hand of a skilled surgeon, it cuts to bring healing and health and hope.
3. Expect to have time to rest
Sometimes it seems that retreats are designed to wear you out. Not here. Our retreat location is away from the buzz of city life. There are stunning alpine landscapes to behold while you enjoy breakfast. Our schedule is designed with down time and free time. And evenings are planned where we sit and enjoy light snacks and drinks, conversation and games. Or you can get to bed early if you like. And for fun, we’ll plan a half-day trip to Salzburg, Austria to see the sights, enjoy one another, and pray for the cities of Europe.
4. Expect to be encouraged by others’ stories from the field
One of the highlights of each pastors’ conference is the chance we have to hear news from across the continent. God is at work in large and in small ways—others’ tales of adventure will encourage us, and their tales of woe will move our hearts. Romans 12 instructs us to “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” We don’t tell these tales to impress one another with ourselves, but to openly express our joys and sorrows in ministry. Our fellowship in Christ’s sufferings is the prelude to our joy in Christ’s inheritance, and we get a foretaste of that as we spend this time together.
5. Expect to re-enter your ministry world refreshed and equipped
All of the previous four expectations combine to meet this last expectation. We expect to return to our individual ministry locations with fresh hope, fresh confidence, renewed joy and perhaps a clearer vision of the next ministry objective, with confidence in God’s supply to meet that objective. We come as we are and we leave refreshed and transformed by the Word of God, the Spirit of God, the people of God and the memories of a week well-spent together. If you come with particularly heavy burdens and deep sorrows, please let someone know quickly. Let’s bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Steve Henderson is a member of the ICC Euro team and has been the Pastor of Munich International Community Church since 1999. He is a native of the US, raised in Cincinnati, and graduated from Vanderbilt University and Dallas Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Robin, have five daughters: Betsy, Katie, Abby, Emily and Claire. Previously he pastored churches in Houston, Texas and Greenville, South Carolina, and was the administrator for the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. Just prior to his ministry in Munich, he established a new private Christian school in South Carolina and served as its administrator for five years.