by Jeff Stone
Do you remember when, as a child, your school would load up the students onto buses and go visit a museum or some other destination of educational value? The location change from the familiar classroom setting seemed to stir excitement and generate fresh learning. Just as that experience energized your class, a road trip can accomplish the same synergy for your elders.
Periodically, our team of elders leaves our familiar conference room and takes our meeting time together on the road. We’ve gone to conferences, men’s events, visited Bible colleges, supported area revivals, and have concluded that different surroundings stimulate new perspectives. Often while en route, we enjoy a meal together and the conversation riding together while in the vehicles is most productive. Perhaps the greatest value we’ve discovered from taking a road trip is simply the value of spending time together as a team.
The elders at my previous church in Dublin, Ohio received a prayer request from a new Christian man, deeply concerned about his sister’s diagnosis of an aggressive cancer. Not content simply to add her to the prayer list, we piled into two cars after a work day, drove 2 ½ hours to where she lived, and prayed fervently with her and her husband. Twelve years later, Tracy is still living and she, her husband, and her brother remain eternally grateful to those elders who went on a prayer road trip.
The Bright elders had learned of a faithful minister who was abruptly let go from the church he served in a far-away state. We prayed for him in our elders’ meeting and collected a love offering of $300 to provide some assistance to his family. We continued to pray for God to provide him a new place to do ministry. We rejoiced when God relocated him to our state, to a church within an hour from where our epicenter of intercessory prayer had occurred. After he settled into his new role, we went on an elders’ road trip to attend on a Sunday morning where he was leading worship, after which he was able to meet and personally express his thanks to some brothers who had helped to “hold his arms up” (Exodus 17:9-13).
More recently, the elders at Bright went on a road trip to attend Gary Johnson’s final service as the Lead Minister at Indian Creek. Gary has been an e2 coach to our church and we wanted to be there to support and encourage him as he completed thirty years at the Creek and would begin the next day to pour his total efforts into the global impact of e2. We were blessed by worshiping together as a team and were nourished by the entire service. Spending those hours traveling and worshiping together with each other was enriching to all of us.
Do you see the solid benefits that await your team of elders when you begin to add this dimension to your meetings and experience the advantages of periodically taking road trips together? Let me challenge you to try to incorporate a road trip into your team’s plan in the very near future. The variety will break the mundane “Meeting Merry Go Round” and unleash God’s Spirit to work through your elders via some new opportunities.
I’d love to hear about a road trip that your elders have taken! Happy Highways!