Category Archives: Our Preferred Culture

Team retreat is here!

Twice a year our team members gather somewhere in the USA for a retreat. This is not a vacation, but structured time to regroup. Retreats are among our “practices” which help us develop a culture which includes “transformative living”. I wrote about this here.

This week we will be meeting on the coast of Washington State, giving attention to:

  • sharing recent developments in our families and ministries
  • reviewing our “Sandbox” which describes our direction in ministry
  • sharing with each other our plans for the next year, and praying for them
  • taking personal time to walk, reflect, rest, think, pray
  • celebrate with a nice dinner, and watch a movie together
  • learn a ministry skill or two
  • worship and share together in God’s Word
  • check our systems of support, encouragement, and accountability

It will be good to hear what God has been doing!!


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Preferred Culture 1: Transformative Living

We as team members, as well as board members, took several months in 2014 to state the way in which we felt God was reshaping our ministry. One aspect of that shape is our Preferred Culture, which we define as the “characteristics of mutual interaction which all members agree to work toward.”

The first of our four characteristics is “Transformative Living.”  For each of our characteristics, we describe what this looks like for us, and then determine some basic practices which help us live it out:

Being united around Jesus as a spiritual community should bring about positive change in our own lives. Ministry should be life-giving rather than depleting. As we serve together, we should become more like Christ and loving to each other. We are grace-based and extend kindness. In addition to using our best thinking, we pursue discernment from God in ministry decisions. (Colossians 1:9-14)

Tweet ThisIn addition to using our best thinking, we pursue discernment from God in ministry decisions.


a. We endeavor to balance being, doing, and resting. We seek to live within our limits.

b. We practice life-giving rhythms of silence, solitude, Sabbath, monthly personal retreats, bi-annual team retreats, and celebration.

c. We include life sharing and times in God’s Word as regular aspects of our gatherings.

Just a comment on this…. Some of these elements are in process. We have not arrived. Some are in place because we have failed miserably in the past. Yet we believe it healthy to state what kind of people we hope to become, by God’s grace.

A book that has shaped our thinking in this regard is Pursuing God’s Will Together, by Ruth Haley Barton (IVP).

Tweet This Ministry should be life-giving rather than depleting

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