Reflections on District Staff Retreat 2017

By: Jeremy Kinniburgh, Pastor of Discipleship and Prayer at Vernon Alliance Church | December 1, 2017

A couple of weeks have now passed since the District Staff Retreat at Whistler. As always, it was a great time to get away with people from the district and spend some time together seeking the Lord and pressing into what God has for us in a beautiful location. As I reflect on the retreat this year, I was reminded of so many great moments, deep connects with friends, encouraging teaches, and some really clear instances of God’s presence, leading, involvement, and ministry.

One of the things that I appreciated about this year at District Staff Retreat was the desire to press into the work of the Spirit in our meetings and to see Him move in our midst. Deep down inside, I think we all really want this; we all want to see God moving among us and in the ministries that we are called to. We all want to know Him in a deeper, more intimate way. In Ephesians 1:17, the Apostle Paul is clear that God genuinely wants to know Him better. He prays for the Ephesian church “that God would give them the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that they can know Him better.” God wants us to be aware of His presence, His activity in our lives, and to fully embrace the reality that He loves us. God wants each of us to know Him better, to experience the fullness of what He created us for, and to be satisfied in Him.

It can be all too easy to be involved in ministry for a season of time and to find ourselves so busy creating environments for people to encounter God that we miss out on the encounter with God ourselves. This can be a great danger of ministry at times. We love people and we want the people in our churches to go to deeper places with God. We want them to become more aware of His presence, His great love for them, His activity in their lives. The reality is that this happens best in the place where we are intimate with God and walking in that vital life-giving relationship with Him. God wants us to encounter Him, to live in that intimate union with Him and to take Him at His Word.

It was a great blessing to have Sandy Isfeld come and join us for the week with his staff team from Airdrie Alliance Church. They’ve been experiencing a great blessing of God in the last few years. They have been seeing healthy growth, miraculous healings, a deepening faith as a church, and a powerful move of the Spirit. They are experiencing the renewal of God in their midst. This renewal did not just happen. As Sandy shared, this renewal was preceded by more than 20 years of tough ministry, challenging days, seeking God, hungering for more of God, and calling for Him to move in their church before they saw God move in the ways they are seeing today. For Sandy and his team, they, like those who have experienced spiritual renewal in their churches in history and recently, know that spiritual hunger precedes spiritual breakthrough and renewal.

I believe that we are a hungry people here in the Canadian Pacific District. The response to the ministry times that were offered gave an indication of the level of hunger and desire for more of God. Over the course of our time in Whistler this year, we saw God move in powerful ways in many different people’s lives.

I want to thank the district team for opening the door to the ministry times for people, and also for giving us opportunities as a whole body present to be able to pray for each other and serve each other in the ways that we were able to. I appreciated seeing our district leaders stepping into ministry and also being willing to be prayed for. We have a really great District Superintendent and district team who are seeking God themselves and are leading us as a district from that place of seeking God and hungering for more of Him.

I think that there are great days ahead of us in the CPD and I am excited to see what God has in store for us as we become more aware Him.