Over the last several weeks I have been out of town on a time of personal development. It started out with a few days at a monestary in South Carolina, then the Re:Awaken Conference at NewSpring Church, two days at the 8th Air Force Museum and then several days of quality time with my wife Denise. The weeks allowed me a great deal of rest, relaxation, Bible study, prayer, reflection, planning and just quiet. I am more convinced than ever that the greatest threat to my walk with God is the amount of connectivity with the rest of the world. I do not find that God yells over the craziness of life, but instead whispers in the quiet of a focused devotional life. The minute the phone went off, social media got blocked and the laptop got left at home…I heard God. It’s amazing what a leader can hear…and dream…when a Bible, pen and paper are joined with solitude and quiet.
There are those in leadership that do not like to use the word ‘retreat’…they somehow thinks it means giving less to God. That is simply immaturity, inexperience and lack of knowledge concerning military tactics talking. A retreat is a powerful military tactic that has changed the outcome of battles and wars. A retreat gives an army time to regroup, refresh, refocus and a chance to put all of its efforts in the area that will inflict the most damage on the enemy. Sometimes a momentary retreat can be the best warfare tactic to truly advance into the enemy’s territory.
As a leader I have no problem using the word ‘retreat’…or taking a retreat. It allows me time to recharge…and to make tactical plans for the next advance. It allows me the time to hear from God and be proactive with His directives…instead of being reactive to Satan’s attacks. An army that is always adavancing never gets resupplied, rested or re-energized. A leader that is always advancing…never stopping or backing up to regroup…will eventually burn out and not finish well. I wasn’t called by God to lead a church through the sprint of one battle…but to lead it through the marathon of the entire war. A retreat doesn’t mean defeat…it means finishing well.