Jesus often went up to the mountain to pray – Matthew 14:23, Mark 6:46, Luke 6:12, John 6:15. As this is being published, I am wrapping up my time in the Wet Mountains of southern Colorado filled with prayer and planning for preaching, teaching and worship for 2023. I’ll be flying home late tonight.  The picture is a view from off-the-grid cabin I stayed at with my best friend, who is also a UM Pastor. I have felt your prayers for and during this retreat. Thank you!

I brought my Bible, some books and what you shared with me in my survey last month.  I received 40 responses and here were some of the topics of interest.

Because of this input, your prayers, and the time away I have already started planning a series on Making a Methodist – a series on the defining characteristics of Methodists and a companion study on the history, polity and future of the UMC, a series on how to read the Bible for all its worth, and Cap or Slap: Does the Bible actually say that? There is more to share too!

When I come down form the mountain, I’ll be sharing the plan with Pastor Lisa and our staff for further refinement. Then I’ll share this final draft with Church Council so we can start planning for other ideas for ministry, programs and even an all-church study in alignment with our forthcoming mission statement, values and goals.

I am grateful for the support to be able to take this retreat. As staff will attest, I am prone to work several months ahead, but I’ve never set such time aside with the purpose of planning so far ahead. As I learn from other Senior Pastors of vital congregations, a retreat to plan 12+ months ahead and to start writing some of the preaching and teaching materials is a key component to the spiritual health and well being of the congregation. That’s probably why Jesus went up the mountain to pray and why I’m glad I joined him this week.

See you Sunday as we continue our current series ‘We Still Haven’t Found What We’re Looking For” by focusing on self-care.

Blessings,