Lay renewal weekends

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Speedpass, Mar 29, 2003.

  1. Speedpass

    Speedpass
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    I know the SBC emphasized these alot during the 70s and 80s, but you don't hear about them all that much nowadays. I wonder why.
     
  2. Ben W

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    I think thes types of things are very important. The Lay Minister usually holds down a job as well as participating in ministry, and that can be hard work. So im all for the idea.
     
  3. Jonathan

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    One of the reasons that this type of functions may have fallen out of favor in a number of SBC churches is that rise of "renewal events" like "Walk to Emmaus" that frequently result in damaging "church within a church" elitist cliques that both undermine the authority of the pastor and full fellowship among all members of the congregation.
     
  4. Speedpass

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    "Walk to Emmaus": Isn't that a Methodist program?
     
  5. Jonathan

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    It is a program that has a varied ancestry...but if your point is that this isn't a specifically Baptist thing, you would be correct.

    The reason that I mention it here is that there is a growing number of current members of Baptist churches who participate in WTE. In fact a growing number of Baptist pastors and directors of missions are involved at the leadership level.

    Let me clear before continuing: I do not believe that one must only do things the baptist way in order to experience renewal (I say this as a very committed Baptist). Of all of my reading and study, I can say, without reservation, that I have been more influenced by Puritans than by any other group...and yet I am Baptist. So the issue is not the non-baptistness of WTE. Rather the issue is the toll that it can take on the fellowship of a local church.

    Anytime a group of the laity have a shared strong spiritual experience, there may be some tension when this group returns to the local church. This is true for pastoral search committees, short term mission teams, youth groups going to camp, etc.... The difference between groups like this and groups like WTE is the fraternity like secrecy and elitism that frequently surrounds these groups.

    My sister's church is going through this right now. Some of her friends went on a WTE weekend. They came back and told her how she really needed to go and experience this. When she asked for some details (like "why do I have to go alone, why can't I go with my husband?") she was told that everything would be made clear during the experience. She asked about who the speakers would be (or guides or whatever). The answer was the same. Each question that she asked received the same essential answer of "I can't tell you, for your own good."

    Further, the folks who have attended these weeks have began meeting exclusively for WTE bible studies that only those who have attended the weekend can attend.

    Now, I'm not going to make the jump and call this group a cult. But when you look at the definition of "cult" there are some similarities.

    If there are some pro-WTE folks on this board, I'd like to hear if my sister's experience is common.
     
  6. Speedpass

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    [/qb][/QUOTE]Anytime a group of the laity have a shared strong spiritual experience, there may be some tension when this group returns to the local church. This is true for pastoral search committees, short term mission teams, youth groups going to camp, etc.... The difference between groups like this and groups like WTE is the fraternity like secrecy and elitism that frequently surrounds these groups.

    [/QB][/QUOTE]

    That's what bothers me about search committees during times of interim pastorates. They don't bother to frequently keep the church informed about what's going on.
     
  7. just-want-peace

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    I've been "pressured" by a relative to partake of this offering, but got the same answers when I wanted some info. :confused:

    Now anytime somebody wants me to go into some venture with these answers, I get REAL RELUCTANT REAL FAST; won't even consider a "Well, I'll think about it" at this point!

    Seems to me if this program is all it's adherents claim, they would give you a bit of info just to whet your appetite if nothing more.

    Although I'm reasonably(?) sure it's not, it does smack of cultism, and until I learn more, or feel the H.S. urging, it's off limits for me!
     
  8. Frogman

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    My wife and I were invited tonight by her sister and husband, they were just returning from one of the Bible study meetings. My brother in law told me it was non-denominational.


    I didn't want to be harsh, or sound harsh, seems like I always am being this. I listened to him as he told me of the 'renewal' and the 'tool this had become used of God to draw his Children closer to Him. When he was finished I asked him if there was any feeding going on in the church they belonged to. These types of things are IMO what the church is for and before this can happen in the church fellowship, shouldn't I be concerned enough to be as close to God in my private devotions and prayer as possible?

    They are United Methodist, but told me this "Emmaus Walk" was made up of alot of church members from all denominations.

    The joker that I am when he asked me if I wanted to Walk to Emmaus, I asked him if that wouldn't be a long walk? :confused:

    Bro. Dallas
     
  9. donnA

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    Actually they have seperate weekends, men one weekend, women another. It's seperation of the sexes because they sleep in dorm type housing. Now do you really want to mix different sexes in a dorm, using the same bathroom and showers?

    One reason for the secrecy is that the person may go on the walk and you do not want to spoil it for them. Since my husband will enver go he knows all about iA group of women from our church who had been started a bible study group, it was not about emmaus, and we did invite others who had not been to emmaus and wanted it to be the beginnings of a womens ministry in our church.
    People often come back from emmaus with some wonderful spiritual experiences and just like any other spiritual experience they want tto share it. Which is why they are always inviting others to go to emmaus. I know before I went I knew abotu God's love becasue the bible says God loves me, at emmaus I personally experienced God's love, felt the power of His love, it really changed my life. Some of the things that have happened in my life since then I know I could not have handled if I hadn't gone to emmaus, what I learned about God and my relationship with Him there gave me strength to walk through. I will say it wasn't any of their talks(sermons) or anything like that, it was God and me and how He showed his love for me.

    Emmaus had it's start in the Methodist church, but now it is non denominational, with people from many differnt denominational backgrounds. No one has to agree with anyone else, ot change anything they believe. It is not aimed at telling anyone they are wrong, their church is wrong and they have to believe something else. The purpose seemed to me to be to deepen the relationship with Jesus, to be more committed to a holy lifestyle, to become servants of others becasue of what God has done for us, to realize that God loves you(some people struggle with God's love personally for them and not just the church as a whole).

    As to the problems in the church. Many times people come back from emmaus excited about ther experience with God that they want to share it with everyone and get carried away. They do not stop and realize that emmaus while bennifical to some amy not be what everyone else needs or wants. It was wonderful for me, not what my husband needs in his life. I never felt like I was better then anyone else when I came back, never had a cliche form. A lot of times emmaus people will talk about their experiences together, but we don't have any elite groups in our church as a result of it, and we've had 1/3 of our people to go to emmaus. I will say that most of the dedicated servatns in our church have been to emmaus. So it is something that changes a persons life, and not just for the moment either.

    Not everyone has to be pro emmaus, and emmaus isn't going to be for everyone. But it is something God has used. I enjoyed emmaus greatly, but I have not been a big emmaus fan, but I am pro emmaus, I would never push anyone, only share my experience. God may choose to use soemthing else in someoen elses life then He did in mine. The biggest mistake of emmaus people is that they try to make everyone go. And becasue the one I went to was way up on a mountain way out, it attracted a lot of small country church people which a great feal of them turned out to be charismatic. Which was difficult for me. You who know me will find it hard to beleive but I actaully broke up an agitated disagreement between a lady from our church and one of the charisamtics. You'd have thought I'd been at the head of that one. There were 5 ldies from our church tehre and it did open up discussion between us as what charisamtics believe and what we beleive and why we beleive it.
    Ok, thats enough from me I guess.
     
  10. donnA

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    Oh yah, Dallas, it isn't an actual walk, but more symbolic, as in your daily walk with Jesus, which they highly stress.
    For the christian emmaus stresses
    daily prayer, bible study, living a holy life style, a life of service, worship and witnessing.
     
  11. Jonathan

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    Could you explain this sentence a bit better? It might help me understand your point. What it sounds like is that if you hadn't gone on the weekend, you would have been unprepared for certain circumstances in your life. What was it about the weekend that made this only possible during the weekend?
     
  12. donnA

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    Could you explain this sentence a bit better? It might help me understand your point. What it sounds like is that if you hadn't gone on the weekend, you would have been unprepared for certain circumstances in your life. What was it about the weekend that made this only possible during the weekend? </font>[/QUOTE]Jonathan, lets see if I can explain it more.
    I know I became more fully awre of God's love for me through experienceing it rather then reading it. His prence around me as I dedicated 4 days to Him and Him alone, shutting out the world and leaving it behind, we had no clocks, we didn't have to tend to clothing or preparing meals or anything. I can't really explain what happened to me that weekend, I was with God and He was with me.I became more sure of my relationship with Him and my security because of Jesus, and His love. A year and a half later my son was arrested. He had in 2 counties a total of 7 felony charges(6 class D's and 1 class C), max sentence, running consecutive would have put him in prison the rest of my life, and most of his, he was 19 at the time. I was in shock for a week couldn't think or eat. I cried and yelled and at times screamed. Had I not had the surety of God's love and care I could not have made it through. It took 6 months for the charges in the county with the 6 class D's to be settled, he was given 2 years each charge, to run concurrent, meaning he would serve a total of 2 yeaes. The 1 chrage in the other county was a more serious chrage, he was given only 6 years, to run concurrent with the other countys sentence. My walk at emmaus strengthened my faith so much, I could walk through this with God, not wavering, but sure He had a purpose and I wanted his purposes accomplished in my sons life, even if it meant prison. And it did. he was in prison for 2 years 2 weeks, he is currently on parole for 4 years. God has done a marvelous thing in our lives and given us all a precious gift in out experience with Him.
    I hope this answers your questions, if not I'm sorry, about the best I can explain, and I can't stand to do a lot of talking about it, it is still way too painful.
     
  13. Jonathan

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    Could you explain this sentence a bit better? It might help me understand your point. What it sounds like is that if you hadn't gone on the weekend, you would have been unprepared for certain circumstances in your life. What was it about the weekend that made this only possible during the weekend? </font>[/QUOTE]Jonathan, lets see if I can explain it more.
    I know I became more fully awre of God's love for me through experienceing it rather then reading it. His prence around me as I dedicated 4 days to Him and Him alone, shutting out the world and leaving it behind, we had no clocks, we didn't have to tend to clothing or preparing meals or anything. I can't really explain what happened to me that weekend, I was with God and He was with me.I became more sure of my relationship with Him and my security because of Jesus, and His love. A year and a half later my son was arrested. He had in 2 counties a total of 7 felony charges(6 class D's and 1 class C), max sentence, running consecutive would have put him in prison the rest of my life, and most of his, he was 19 at the time. I was in shock for a week couldn't think or eat. I cried and yelled and at times screamed. Had I not had the surety of God's love and care I could not have made it through. It took 6 months for the charges in the county with the 6 class D's to be settled, he was given 2 years each charge, to run concurrent, meaning he would serve a total of 2 yeaes. The 1 chrage in the other county was a more serious chrage, he was given only 6 years, to run concurrent with the other countys sentence. My walk at emmaus strengthened my faith so much, I could walk through this with God, not wavering, but sure He had a purpose and I wanted his purposes accomplished in my sons life, even if it meant prison. And it did. he was in prison for 2 years 2 weeks, he is currently on parole for 4 years. God has done a marvelous thing in our lives and given us all a precious gift in out experience with Him.
    I hope this answers your questions, if not I'm sorry, about the best I can explain, and I can't stand to do a lot of talking about it, it is still way too painful.
    </font>[/QUOTE]So basically, it wasn't Emmaus so much as the fact that you finally spent some extended time exclusively with God that changed your perspective. Is this correct?
     
  14. Frogman

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    I guess I am what I am, but this is by the Grace of God. I cannot but think that my church is also already on this Emmaus Walk; we stress the same things and we fellowship in this as a church. To me then, to have the need to get away for the weekend is seeking the candlestick that should be in the church. (just my opinion). Sorry, but I find I must be honest.

    God Bless.
    Bro. Dallas
     
  15. donnA

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    Mostly, but not exactly. They have a team called agape , and they leave these little things (I'll explain more later), all over the place, at the place setting on the dinner table, on the beds, at the tabel in the conference room. What tey are is little things other people have made, I've even made some before. Mostly little papers with a bible verse,and a little somethig glued on, like a bandage and the verse about God healing the broken hearted, and just little play on words for the object, but they are all over the place, not one or two but ten of them at a time, you are always reading scriptures about God's love and care, the agpae team brings ice water to the conference room(it was hot,and we were at a camp ground area, no air conditioning) and just a lot of little things that are meant to convey to you the love of God. Have you ever served someone with the only purpose of showing them God's love for them? I was completely over whelmed. On Sunday before we left we were given a bag full of letters written to us by family and friends, my pastor and other church people, they were what epoeple thougth of me and loved me and encouragemetn,I couldn't believe so many people cared about me, I even had one from my son.
    I'm affraid I am not going to be able to explain this to anyones satisfaction.
     
  16. Jonathan

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    Mostly, but not exactly. They have a team called agape , and they leave these little things (I'll explain more later), all over the place, at the place setting on the dinner table, on the beds, at the tabel in the conference room. What tey are is little things other people have made, I've even made some before. Mostly little papers with a bible verse,and a little somethig glued on, like a bandage and the verse about God healing the broken hearted, and just little play on words for the object, but they are all over the place, not one or two but ten of them at a time, you are always reading scriptures about God's love and care, the agpae team brings ice water to the conference room(it was hot,and we were at a camp ground area, no air conditioning) and just a lot of little things that are meant to convey to you the love of God. Have you ever served someone with the only purpose of showing them God's love for them? I was completely over whelmed. On Sunday before we left we were given a bag full of letters written to us by family and friends, my pastor and other church people, they were what epoeple thougth of me and loved me and encouragemetn,I couldn't believe so many people cared about me, I even had one from my son.
    I'm affraid I am not going to be able to explain this to anyones satisfaction.
    </font>[/QUOTE]I think that you have explained it very well. Where I am still unclear is why this cannot happen within the fellowship of a local church.

    That you had been involved in a local church for so long a time and it took a Tres Dias weekend for you to experience the feeling that so many people cared about you is an indictment on your local church, don't you think?

    If renewal weekends are the only places that church folks can go to experience this, there is a crisis in the body, indeed. I wonder how many TD/WTE alumni would be willing to work as hard to address this local church crisis.
     

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