This report is from GCI pastor Karl Reinagel, who pastors a GCI congregation in St. Louis, Missouri.
Our congregation recently hosted an Experiencing the Trinity retreat that was conducted by a team from Odyssey in Christ. Several of our local members attended along with GCI members from Colorado, Illinois and New York.
Experiencing the Trinity is designed as an opportunity to enjoy the presence of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The retreat was run on “Kairos time.” Watches and electronics were banned, allowing one to simply sit in God’s presence without the distractions of email, phone calls and worries of getting to the next scheduled event. To help enter Kairos time, the retreat started with a night of silence. One participant said, “That night was a great way to refocus the mind from our lives, ministries and the people around us and to focus in on God alone.”
A theme of the retreat was: it is okay for your prayer time to “accomplish” nothing. “Few things are better than to ‘waste time’ with God,” Bill Wells from the Odyssey in Christ team said in his presentation. Throughout the retreat, the theme of unwinding and relaxing in God, experiencing him and being experienced by him, was prevalent.
Many of the local members who attended said they received encouragement and strengthening by having a time set aside just to sit in God’s presence and talk with him, fulfilling Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:14-16, “That out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your heart through faith.” There is a time to accomplish tasks, but we also need time to be with God as a child sitting in the lap of their Father.
Each day during the retreat we went through different spiritual rhythms and prayers. It was meaningful to us that the day we focused on the ministry of the Spirit was very windy and fell on Pentecost. It was a perfect ending to a weekend filled with experiencing our triune God and enjoying the fellowship of other believers. We look forward to another Odyssey in Christ retreat in 2016.