In its third year of gathering at Glisson, Kindling the Fire continues to excite North Georgia pastors in forming creative lessons to preach throughout the year.
“It’s a time of retreat, although we do a lot of good work here,” says Stephen Streett of Varnell UMC, who has attended every retreat.
He recalls the first retreat having only 6 people. Originally, Kindling the Fire was aimed toward lectionary preachers, but as interest rose, invitations were spread to all conference pastors.
Attendance count has gone from six to sixty in 2014. Participants gather in the Ivie Lodge for a few days of planning and sharing ideas.
“These four days save me hours and hours of sermon planning,” says Streett.
Beth Sanders, Senior Pastor of Second Avenue UMC of Rome, finds talking with other pastors at the retreat to be stimulating and feels the “creative energy is magnified”.
“We look ahead at the whole arc of the scriptures,” Sanders adds, who became involved with Kindling the Fire two years ago when retreat leader Phil Schroeder contacted her for ideas in organizing the event.
“Sometimes you get so caught up in running the church that you get behind in what to preach,” says Zack Martin of Crossroads UMC in Conyers.
“Without this I’d be lost,” adds the third-time attendee. “There’s nothing worse than staring at a blank screen, and with this I have something to put on paper.”
District Superintendents and other Conference leaders served as readers at Kindling the Fire and Bishop Watson led the Tuesday morning session. Dawn Chesser, Director of Preaching Ministries at the General Board of Discipleship, served as a resource person throughout the event.
See photos from the retreat here