The following is an editorial by Tar Henderson, team leader for the Baptist Convention of New Mexico's Evangelism and Discipleship Team.
It is always exciting to see God at work. He was definitely at work at this year's Bivocational Pastors and Family Retreat at Sivells Baptist Camp and Retreat Center. A total of 40 people gathered on that beautiful mountain on Aug. 2-4. Attendees praised the Lord, learned from God's Word, experienced a time of rest and a time to make some new friends with other pastors and their families from across the state.
The first evening attendees enjoyed a message from Mark Clifton, Senior Director of Replanting/Revitalization of the North American Mission Board. Mark connected well with the pastors as he shared some of his testimony of being a bivocational pastor. Clifton encouraged the group by pointing out ways the Lord worked in his life during some challenging times, as well as some exciting times in ministry. Friday evening was topped off with a dessert fellowship as people had the opportunity to get to know one another better.
On Saturday morning, Clifton concluded his two-part message by reminding the pastors of the Lord's faithfulness to accomplish His Kingdom work. He also emphasized for pastors to remain focused on leading their churches for the glory of God. Following Clifton's message, the assembly worshiped the Lord in song. The Baptist Convention of New Mexico Evangelism/Discipleship Team's Northeast Regional Missionary, Rick Brittain, led music.
Fred MacDonald, Director of Missions for Pecos Valley Baptist Association, preached from Luke 10:30-37 on Jesus' story of the Good Samaritan, and emphasized the title, "Stop Looking For Neighbors." MacDonald's message followed the theme for this year's retreat. The theme was based on Matthew 5:16, "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven."MacDonald challenged the group to make a difference in their respective areas, like the Good Samaritan.
Saturday afternoon activities kicked off with a Spa Day for the ladies. Dani Hill served the ladies with a joyful heart as she performed special paraffin wax treatments and massaged the ladies' hands and feet. At another location at the camp, men participated in a friendly, but competitive Cornhole tournament. Rick Wilcher and Elijah Moya Tapia were crowned the winners of the competition, followed closely by the second-place team of Fred MacDonald and Rick Brittain. A couple of people learned some tips on fly-fishing from Rick Brittain later that afternoon. Some of the families used the free afternoon for a time of relaxation.
Saturday evening was a night for entertainment, led by the El Paso Cowboy Gospel Band. The group played various country, bluegrass and Gospel favorites for a full night of fun. Several of the band's members are pastors themselves, which helped them to relate to the crowd. Fellowship among the group continued even though rain cancelled the S'Mores and campfire.
Sunday morning's schedule concluded with another great morning of worship led by Brittain. The attendees had the opportunity to give testimonies of how the Lord was working in their lives, and specifically, how the bivo retreat had impacted them. The worship time was then wrapped up with another engaging message from Fred MacDonald titled, "The Overcomer's Toolbox," from the featured text, Revelation 12:11. MacDonald left the pastors with a charge to persevere in ministry and listed the steps from the verses to accomplish it.
A big thank you to Jay Hammond and his staff at Sivells Baptist Camp for making this year's retreat a huge success. The lodging made for a great getaway and the meals were wonderful. It is also noteworthy that this retreat was made possible through the Baptist Convention of New Mexico and the generous giving to the Cooperative Program.