The question you might ask is: "Did you have to go to all those?" The answer is no. I was only required to go to 2 of them (the RFE meeting and pastor's conference). "Could I have gotten out of going to those?" Yes. I could have skipped them, coming up with a reason that I needed to stay around Troy. Did I need to go to the LWML Convention or the Teacher's Conference? No.
Then why did I go? The answer to that is easy yet complicated. I went for myself (to grow in my abilities as a pastor and in my personal walk of faith) and also to grow in my relationship with the teachers and the members of St. Paul's, as well as to make contact with people that I have ministered to and worked with over the past 25 years.
I went to build relationships. At the LWML Convention, I enjoyed spending the day with the women of St. Paul's who are a part of the Lutheran Women's Missionary League while hearing a great Bible study on Jonah and all about what was taking place in the SID LWML and the National LWML.
This is the group that attended the LWML Convention. I greatly enjoyed the time that I spend with them in worship (I was privileged to help with distribution Communion), in study, in fellowship and in learning. It was worth the day that was spent at MELHS.
Then there was the Pastor's Conference. It was 2 days spent with my colleagues in the ministry learning and growing. The topic: Youth Ministry. Rev. John Oberdeck was the main speaker and gave a great topic on the youth of today. Yes, I learned some of that at the National 12 in San Antonio, TX but learned even more this time. I enjoyed spending time reconnecting with fellow pastors around the district, men I have worked with and been associated with over the last 25 years and men I just began to get to know as they are new in the SID. Was it worth it? Yes it was.
Then there is the Teacher's Conference. Why do I go? I want to support the teaching staff of St. Paul's and learn and grow with them. Spending 2 days with them is a great way to connect with them and let them know that I support them in their ministry as teachers. They are extremely important people and I desire to be a part of their lives. We have a great staff at St. Paul's and as their pastor, I feel that it is important for me to support them, get to know them and be a part of their lives. We see each other every day at school but we are all often so busy with our things that we don't have time to talk and enjoy one anothers company. So was the conference worth the time and money spent? Yes it was!
Finally there is the Junior High Retreat. 3 days at Camp Wartburg in the cold with 10 junior high youth and another 25 youth from around the district. We spent time with one another in song, in food, in work, in play, in study, in growth, in the Light! We walked, we talked, we got to know each other and grow with each other in ways that don't happen in the classroom. Those 3 days were long. They were cold. They were fun. They were tiring. They were uplifting. They were wonderful.
Was the time spent at the Junior High Retreat worth it? Most definitely YES! It was worth the time, the energy and the money.
Thus ends the long stretch of things that took place away from the congregation but all directly impacted the congregation. Relationships were built. Love was shared. Learning took place. And most of all - I grew in my relationship with many different parts of St. Paul's congregation. As the pastor, the shepherd of this congregation, this was the greatest thing that took place.
Now, back into the daily routine. All I can say is I look forward to today.