Musings on Spiritual Matters

by Matthew Morine

Lectureships and Retreats


Well, an elder was in my office yesterday, and we got talking about lectureships.  Of course this elder is highly connected in the church, and he goes to various lectureships each year.  He was talking about how the numbers are down in some of the lectureships across the brotherhood.  He made the comment “it is more for old people now.”  This is not always true, I still like attending lectures, but the point is still true in general.  So if lectureships are not working, what will with young people, or young ministers.  This got me thinking, how can I help this situation?  Here is my plan, and I would love some feedback on this, if people would like it or not.

I would like to a do a spiritual climb of a 14er with ministers across the church.  It would be hard, we would go out into the woods for a few days, I would have some guys lead us in spiritual formation stuff, and have a theme, or some material or training in some important area of ministry, or whatever is relevant.  We would hike in, and mostly climb a 14er together as a group. People could fly into Denver, and I would take them to the mountains.  So the time together would be training, refreshing, and just plan spiritually hard.  Lectureships are mostly passive, you come, you sit, and sing some, and you learn, but on this retreat, passive would not be a good term for it.  It would be active, challenging, and I promise by the end of it, you would be high on God.  I would love to do something like this, it would not cost much, just transportation, and you bring the supplies.  But it would be an excellent way for me to contribute to the brotherhood.

What do you all think?  Is this a better way to do spiritual training than a lectureship?  Is this too hard for most preachers?  There is polishing the pulpit which is hugely successful, and would this be something that is an alternative to a lectureship format?  Love to hear your thoughts on this one.

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Related posts:

  1. The Purpose of Lectureships
  2. Going to Bear Valley Lectureships
  3. Spiritual Retreats
  4. Spiritual Retreats and Dualism
  5. Elder-Preacher Retreats

About The Author

Matthew is originally from Nova Scotia, Canada. He has a beautiful wife named Charity and a precious baby named Gabrielle. He has graduated from the Brown Trail School of Preaching, Heritage Christian University with his Bachelors of Arts in Biblical Studies, Lipscomb University with his Master’s of Arts in Biblical Studies and his Master’s of Divinity at Freed-Hardeman University. He is presently working towards his Doctorate of Ministry at Harding Graduate School of Religion. His articles have appeared in the World Evangelist, the Highway to Holiness, The West Virginia Christian, The Christian Echo, The Firm Foundation, Church Growth, and the Gospel Advocate. He enjoys hockey, golf, boxing, and chess. In his spare time he enjoys reading numerous genres of books. Also, he is working on climbing all of the 14ers in Colorado. Matthew is the Pulpit Minister for the Castle Rock church of Christ.


13 Responses to “Lectureships and Retreats”

  1. Christine says:

    A group from White Station here in Memphis does this every year. They fly into Colorado or wherever their hiking takes them that year. There the meet the expedition leader who not only guides their steps but also leads them on a spiritual journey. Any one over 16 who can hike and climb can participate. Every person I know who has gone has been deeply blessed by it. All that to say: Go for it, Brother!

  2. K. Rex Butts says:

    I wonder if attendance is down at “all” lectureships. A few posts ago you talked about churches speaking in the language of the culture…which includes being able to answer the questions the culture is asking (and not in a way that simply dismisses the question). Well, my suspicion is that some lectureships are trying to answer questions that are fifty years old and in doing so, they dismiss the questions that are of concern. I know I stopped attending one lectureship because I got tired of hearing the same unsatisfactory answers.

    Any ways…I like your idea as well. And I miss walking out of my back yard and seeing Long’s Peak in the background.

    Grace and Peace,


  3. Mark says:

    I’m in!

    And, please, embrace your Canadianness. Go ahead and say, “eh?” rather than substituting “er.” It just does not work. So you should feel free to say, “Let’s go up a 14, eh?” instead of choking back your your national vocal pause with “Let’s go up a 14er!”

  4. This is the question we in the Brown Trail School if Preaching (BTSOP) Alumni Association are trying to figure out with the “God First Fellowship” we have started. We had a great crowd last year our first year but not like we were hoping for. So we have decided to follow the format of the Polishing the Puplpit & Affirming the Faith. Basically make the content relevant trying to reaching as many age groups as possible. This will be a gradual shift from a lectureship format for us to a workshop/seminar format. The aforementioned two groups have figured something out & should be looked at closely. That’s my two cents anyway.

  5. Keith Price says:

    Lectureships have always been strange beasts. For the average Christian he/she has to either use vacation time to attend or take time off without pay. Which I have done both but with todays economy and so many out of work I would not be surprised if attendance were down. Also what does a lectureship provide for parents with young children. We used to attend the Green Lake Encampment (formerly Lake Geneva Encampment) but it eventually closed due to low attendance.

    I think you have a great idea in regards to climbing. Just realize not everyone climbs.

  6. Dale Sadler says:

    Love Rex’s comment. I know that many churches aren’t relevant so I’m sure that lectureships are the same in that they are just a reason to validate what everyone is already thinking or doing. No one asks the right questions out of a fear they’ll be labeled somehow so nothing gets answered. Preachers go home with some good sermon ideas but that’s about it.

    Second, I think this goes back to what hurts youth days. People can travel great distances now so the necessity of having an event at four different churches that are within driving distance of one another is ridiculous. Why not support the one big event every year? Hence, Polishing the Pulpit’s success. Location is also good here. If I go someplace and spend a few days, I want to eat a famous hamburger or get some really good BBQ.

    The attendance may also be low because people get spiritual fuel in other ways. By reading their favorite minister’s blog for example. We’re also busy, busy, busy.

    I think it’s a great idea; if they can survive. Have you seen the average minister’s waist line? It’s also good because it gets people out of their comfort zone which is what enables God to move in and work. As people adapt to their new surroundings, they will be forced to open up and grow. With this fact in mind, I think the growth that will occur in a half day or overnight climb will surpass even a week long lectureship.

    Sorry this is so long but I’ve been gone for a while.


  7. Matthew says:

    Christine, I was thinking that Mark would be perfect as a speaker for this time.

  8. Christine says:

    Matthew, I can’t help but agree with you. :) We all love the mountains and hiking, so the boys and I would be jealous at home. But hey, I’ve got Pepperdine, right? Oh wait, that’s a lectureship. Doggonit!

  9. Matthew,

    If you put something together, I would greatly appreciate an invite to participate. 100%.

  10. Matthew,
    Definitely something I would be interested in – sounds like a great idea! Let me know if you get something like that in the works.


  11. Dale says:

    I believe in the future there will be a number (5 or so) BIG lectureships and then a whole lot of smaller more intimate setting and more personal training and connecting times – mentoring “retreats” if you please. I’ve spoken the last couple of years on some of the big ones and they are still doing well BUT the smaller ones really seem to connect!

  12. Matthew says:

    Thank you to everyone for the great insight. It will not put this together this summer, right in the middle of writing the dissertation, but I will plan to do this next summer. So be planning to come.

  13. Cliff Sabroe says:

    I just attended Recharge: Excellence in Ministry conference and it was workshop and not a traditional lectureship, and it was awesome, best thing I have ever attended. Check it out and make plans to come next year We are also expanding our lectureship at West Visalia into what has become our Spiritual Growth Expo with classes for couples, teens, kids and more.

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