We had 19 of us out at The Way here in Midland this weekend for the first of twelve Breakthrough Retreats related to our new emphasis on transformation and mission at GCR Church. We engaged our God together through Word and Prayer, exploring several ancient Christian practices and spiritual disciplines. Dwelling in the Word. Praying Scripture. Borrowed Prayer. Imaginative Reading.

A wonderful side benefit to these experiences in community is the connection made, not only with our Lord, but also with one another. You really hear the hearts of your brothers and sisters in Christ when you are listening to the voice of God together in Bible passages and four-hundred-year-old songs and two-thousand-year-old prayers. Blessing one another with words from the Psalms. Discerning God’s will together. Placing ourselves in the Story of God. Sharing holy conversations around our meals. Worshiping in that beautiful chapel at The Way. I know 18 of my brothers and sisters in Christ a whole lot better today than I did 48 hours ago. And it’s a tremendous blessing.

The one discipline we need to include in our next retreat is how to take a group photo. Look at that picture! Dee seems to be intentionally hiding. Eric and Meagan are barely visible. Reagan and Clay seem to have their own thing happening there on the left. Ashlee’s laughing. And I don’t know why we let Marc wear the Aggies gear on the front row.

We’re wanting every member of our GCR Church to participate in one of these Breakthrough Retreats over the next two years. The next retreat is a morning thing on the church campus for young families with kids on February 18. The next overnight retreat at The Way for adults and anybody who’s a high school freshman or older is March 10-11.

I highly recommend it. And I believe any of those other 18 folks in that picture would say the same thing.