By Rev. Susan Finck (Event Director)
As I looked around the circle on the back porch during my With the Wind small group, I had this sense of honor and humility.
Honored- that I was in the presence of those who were on their way to becoming strategic leaders in the advance of God’s kingdom.
I could see paths of wide Kingdom impact stretching into the future for each one, and I was humbled that I got to be alongside them for this season in their journeys.
My sense was that God was raising a ‘new wave’ of leadership through each of those who came.
Our theme for 2015 was “Gifted”.
The goal was to provide a balance of ‘formation’ and ‘information,’ offering opportunities to learn and to lead in spiritual and practical areas (help with technology, administration, logistics, and even taking over cooking when our main kitchen minister became ill.)
We also provided opportunities for rest and fun, realizing that as leaders and future leaders, we come to retreats and events with varying needs. Our morning solo times focused on Nehemiah and small group sessions were times for processing the teaching, sharing encouragement about spiritual disciplines, and just sharing life.
“As a spiritual retreat for young adults like me, who are trying to discern direction and vocation, With the Wind provided exceptional teaching, ministry, and fellowship. First of all, PRMI’s teaching about the Holy Spirit and how He works in the different gifts and callings of believers was scriptural, practical, and thorough. We asked hard questions, explored our gifting as individuals, learned that determining our gifting can help us to discern our calling, and heard story after story of how the Holy Spirit empowers believers with different abilities to build the body of Christ. We received spirit-empowered prayer ministry and participated in exultant worship, all lead by a team of leaders who co-operated with the Holy Spirit and with each other and who encouraged us to minister to each other through prayer and service”, says Danielle King, With the Wind participant
Personal, love-filled leadership seemed to characterize interactions and presentations. It became evident through all those who taught, including Josh and Rebecca Modrzynski, Mary Ellen Conners and Brad Long.
Participants got to see a number of styles and personalities “up front” and hear honest descriptions of personal and ministry-related joys and challenges. Lisa Steigerwald and Nancy Henkes provided intercession alongside compassionate, insightful prayer ministry.
“My favorite aspect of With the Wind, though, was the fellowship. The atmosphere was structured but
casual, allowing time to talk about our different stories and passions, to go to a barn dance together, and to laugh with each other.
The Community of the Cross itself provided a homey, welcoming, but also contemplative setting, bursting with natural beauty, in which to connect with God and each other.I feel as though I’ve walked away from this event not only with a new perspective on following the leading of the Holy Spirit when making life decisions, but also with a community in which to live out this challenging awareness”. Danielle King
As an opportunity to allow the participants to share their gifting, we put up a white board and let them sign up to lead different parts of the closing service. All were clearly anointed as they led.
A shift seemed to happen, however, with the Benediction, as it took on the ‘weight’ of a prophetic word. All of the ‘older folks’ happened to be in the back of the room and began to quietly witness to and discern what the Lord was doing through tears and that sense of the awesomeness of Visitation.
As the Spirit fell, more worship ensued. One young woman received a word of Scripture and with our worship leader began to function as ‘point person.’ I realized what was happening, and through eye contact and confirmation of her word, encouraged her. A ‘transfer’ was happening – a transfer of leadership, authority, and anointing to them, this next ‘wave’ in PRMI leadership.
It seemed as though God was using the group that was there as representative of a wider cadre within that age group in our ministry. It was such an honor to direct this event, and be present for such an outpouring of gifts, vision and seeing the Body of Christ built up, and God’s Kingdom advance.
We had several words prior to the event – the first being that there would be “about 12,” and the significance of Jesus pouring into twelve. Another was “get out of the way” – which I interpreted as: create the context and He would come and fill the event with His Presence and accomplish His purposes on multiple levels. As we joyfully watched the young adults stepping into their mantle of leadership from the back, we were reminded of that word in a very literal way. Glory to God!