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  • Writer's pictureMike Encoe

WHAT DO WE DO NOW? // FAMILY RETREATS


March 14th seems like such a long time ago. That was the first day our family gathered around a TV for worship music and a sermon. It was almost exciting, like camping in the backyard or watching a movie under a blanket fort. The coronavirus was something we were prepared to wait out (with or without toilet paper), and we were going to make the best of it. I grabbed a cup of coffee and helped my wife herd our four young children to the living room. I downloaded the appropriate app, kicked up my feet, and pressed play. Then it happened. Something completely unexpected sent my head spinning. The worship leader made the first down strum on his guitar. I said to myself, "Uh oh! What do we do now? He wants us to stand, do we stand? What about my kids? Do they even know these songs? What songs did they sing in their children's class? How loud am I supposed to sing? Did I just become a worship leader and children's pastor?"


For the next several months, moms and dads have been answering and reanswering questions like these. We have sought to keep our family safe, our marriages intact, our finances stable, our children educated, and our faith strong. We have lost our minds and found them again. We decided to get in shape and then got out of shape again. We have tried pressing into the Lord and His church with a very different form of community and leadership.

This summer, I have had the unique privilege of watching the stress of 2020 roll off the shoulders of countless parents. Moms and dads have been able to book a cabin for their families in a summer unlike any other. I have seen dads teach their daughters to ride bikes in center camp, and moms help their babies swim in the pool. Children have learned about and experienced their creator. Churches have been able to come together safely outdoors. I have seen faces illuminated with laughter and heard the sound of praises rolling off tongues. Though this is not a year we would have chosen, we have seen the Lord work uniquely. Our great God has been faithful to this ministry yet again. He has used this place to meet parents. He has filled, strengthened, and given them a new perspective and fresh courage to face the questions of our time. To God be the glory who is still working all things together for good!


"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,

who have been called according to his purpose."

ROMANS 8:28




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