For many years in a row I had the honor of being the speaker on a Youth Pastor houseboat trip put on by Biola University, run by a guy named Jerry Huson. The trip was pure genius. He’d book a houseboat (or two), invite a bunch of youth pastors out on the lake for 4 days and pretty much have NO AGENDA. We’d wakeboard and wakesurf until our arms fell off and eat, nap and laugh all day long. As a speaker I’d come prepared, but I didn’t always offer what was prepared—in fact some years I didn’t even give a formal “talk”! Jerry would discern the needs of the group that day and guide me which way to go.
You see Jerry knew that the purpose of the trip wasn’t to impart a bunch of knowledge or ministry strategy onto already over-loaded and sometimes over-worked youth pastors. While people often gained knowledge and talked strategies, the bottom line was that these pastors needed rest and perspective.
Many of the trips took place out at Lake Mead in this isolated corner called Rufus’ Cove. The water was nearly always glassy and the fishing, hiking and beauty were amazing. I loved watching each person unwind little by little throughout the retreat. Conversations became slower and more thoughtful, play was less of an escape and more of a routine and people’s appearance even seemed to change. It was sorta like those creepy plastic surgery ads that make the same person look super old and super young. People were being refreshed in a matter of a few days—you could see it!
As a speaker my job on this retreat was to try not to get in God’s way. He was doing redemptive and restorative work on these pastors. I just encouraged them to stop, look and listen to God. Out in the desert that seems natural and pretty easy to do. You see one of the most vital things we need as leaders is perspective. Its actually the difference between leaders and followers…in fact the difference between a leader and an effective leader is better perspective.
The book of Proverbs is full of the word “wisdom”. You can often swap that word with the word “perspective”. We all need to step back from our every day life now and again and get perspective, or to get better perspective. Whether you do like I did had head out to the desert or come here to Mount Hermon and sit under a giant redwood…we all need it. At some point don’t we all need to just BE instead of always DOING?