When We Gather
“After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.” - Acts 4:31
This past week I was away at my annual gathering of seminary friends - we call it Akonizo - which is a reference to the Greek word for Iron, as in Iron sharpens iron (Proverbs 27:17).
This year, we invited our spouses to join us - some of which hadn’t seen each other since we graduated together, nearly 13 years ago!
It was an absolutely phenomenal time of rest, fun and the hard work of sharing our situations with each other. We shared our hopes, our fears, our success and failures - in our churches (4 out of 5 of us are pastors), in our families, in our marriages and in our relationship with God.
These gatherings, which have been going on every year for 13 years, have taken place all across the country, with varied activities, but this time of sharing and praying for each other has always been a staple. Really, it’s been the staple. And it’s been the most valuable, the most challenging and the most rewarding part of our time together.
We all had some questions about what it would be like to add our wives in the mix - would it change? Would they have the same take on the state of our lives, on our marriages as we’d been sharing these many years? Would they get along?
By God’s amazing grace, we had nothing to worry about. It was like no time had passed. God was in our midst in some pretty exciting ways - we were challenged and inspired by each other and we even saw prayers being answered and healing taking place.
I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that this is the most beneficial study leave I ever take each year. It enhances my marriage, my family and my work among you. But it’s not something that needs to be relegated to just one week a year. In fact, this gathering grew out of a small prayer group that we began long before we graduated.
If what I’ve shared resonates at all with you, I want to encourage you to either plug into an ongoing small group or seek to start one on your own. I know it’s a risky process, but I can promise you that the benefits are more amazing than you could possibly imagine. And if you’d like help in making it happen, please let me know!
Welcoming people to Grow in Jesus,