“Are You Fully Alive?”
These are words that many in my congregation hear me ask over and over, especially the guys. The name of the men’s retreat I lead is even called, Man Fully Alive. But often, I don’t stop enough to ask myself, “Am I fully alive?”
In early May, the staff at Barnabas Center gathered a small number of Pastors together to simply ask us that same question. OK, it’s not the language they used, but it’s my language and what I heard in their questions. Because they are professional question askers, I’m sure their questions were way better:
What are the privileges of being a pastor that you have lost sight of?
What are the things in ministry that take your energy and rob you of life?
How are you loving your spouse and family in the midst of ministry?
Who are people in your life that know you and know you well?
In other words, “Mitch, are you fully alive?” Am I fully alive in my work still? At home? Even in my play? Most importantly, am I fully alive in my relationship with Jesus and others?
In John 10:10 we learn that Jesus came that we might be fully alive and he even warns us that there is a thief that is out there to steal, kill and destroy that life. I appreciate the staff at Barnabas Center asking questions to help me recognize the thief, but more importantly, recognize the Giver of Life. After 22 years of ministry, am I fully alive? Oh yes! I recognized that as I sat with 11 other pastors, some that I have known for years, some that I can’t wait to get to know more. We love what we do. There are countless privileges in the midst of the countless difficulties. I loved being with a group of men that are committed to doing great ministry and committed to doing that first at home. These men are committed to allowing Christ to keep their hearts alive-fully alive- so they can tell others of this same wellspring of life.
Two days away at a familiar place to many of us-Windy Gap, Young Life Camp, amazing food (you gotta get to know Chris!- the dude can cook), golf, hiking, time just to be with Jesus, and time to be with fellow ministers of the gospel. “Are you fully alive” can be answered in so many different ways – but we all need a Barnabas in our life to ask that question to us and make us answer it truthfully. I’m looking forward to connecting further with some of these fellow pastors and giving them permission to continue asking me that same question. I love being fully alive!
Mitch White has been married to his high school sweet heart; Virginia, since 1990, and together they are the parents of two fantastic kids: Caleb and Lindsay. Mitch plays various roles at Lake Forest but primarily oversees and resources environments that shape Spiritual Growth.
Mitch – I’m so glad the pastor’s retreat was such an encouragement and refreshment for you. That was such a great group of pastors! I love the wording of your questions… it is a good thing to ask ourselves “am I fully alive?”. Thank you for sharing!
thank you nicole for all that you did to make it happen!
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