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#003: Spiritual Retreats with Michael Bayne

Michael Bayne helps us think through the importance of planning spiritual retreats as a church leader.  Elisabeth and Jeremy also share about their recent family getaway in the woods and why they aren’t really great at building fires.  In this episode we also debut a new segment from Tony Bianco called T3: Tech Time with Tony, where he shares three things Instagram doesn’t want parents to know!

To read Michael’s blog post you can go HERE

To learn more about Tony Bianco’s Family Technology Plan you can go HERE

To learn more about being a Ministry to Parents member you can go HERE

To shop in our online store for M2P products you can go HERE

Elisabeth Lee
We are so excited to invite Michael Bayne into this conversation about spiritual retreats and a bigger subject of how to care for your soul and in his blog post this week, which I love. He covers the three type of retreats. It's super practical. But in our interview that we do with him, we discover the heart behind what he wrote.

Elisabeth Lee
And it's really good stuff. So here's what he has to say and share with us first.

Michael Bayne
Well, the corner piece of the blog post that I got to share. And the thing that I learned through a lot of help in this is that Jesus is inviting me to be faithful more than He's inviting me to be successful. So, the heartbeat of what he wants me to do. And I've seen this play out in family ministry over and over and over again, how faithfulness in a family's life trumps a great event.

Michael Bayne
It trumps having it all together. It trumps putting on a good show, a consistency over time. Faithfulness is actually what builds a bridge. And Jesus, like in my ministry, is calling me to do that. He called me to faithfulness first over success because nobody will have labeled Jesus a success. We have to get in the rhythms of Jesus. And you both know this, Jesus pulled away from the crowds and from the grind and he rested.

Michael Bayne
And it wasn't until a few mentors, a few voices kind of confronted me and said, "hey, you're not you're not doing that". And my fatigue. So I was performing well, but I was operating from a very weak spot, from a very unhealthy place, because I wasn't taking time to rest and depend and pray and think and listen. And do all of those things, so. Like that's where kind of where we went in the post.

Jeremy Lee
And I love that Michael says our faithfulness over success. But I'll suggest another way of saying that I think faithfulness is success. And maybe one of the things that spiritual retreats do for me is it realigns for me what is success? I know, like whenever we go on vacation and we're gone for the week and it's almost inevitable. You and I both we're in the car, we're rolling back in. We come off the interstate off to our exit where we're coming up to our house.

Jeremy Lee
And it's just very typical.

We start to talk about re-entering our routines and kind of we're thinking a new way about how we're that's the whole point of a retreat. You pull away and when you come back, you see things with a fresh look and it helps you realign that vision. And I know for me, I have gotten off on this in my ministry journey. I can remember a very clear time where for me, success I was aiming. I just wanted my pastor to like me.

Jeremy Lee
I just wanted him to be proud of me. I wanted him to be happy with my performance. And I didn't feel like he was. And I was willing to do anything. I need to baptize more people, OK? Do I need to convince more people to come to my events. OK, what do I need to do to get you to like me dude? And ultimately, I almost burned my whole soul out going after the wrong thing.

Jeremy Lee
And it's easy to get into that trap and retreats. If I were to have done some more spiritual retreat during that time, I probably could have caught that instead of burning myself out, burning the candle at both ends like Michael was talking about.

Elisabeth Lee
And so I think what I hear you saying is your success at that time is similar what Michael's saying, which is when he's saying faithfulness over success, his definition of success in that statement is achievement or pleasing your authority. And that's what you're saying at that time was your definition. And you're asking, hey, why don't we transition and change the definition of success?

Jeremy Lee
Yeah, because I was so afraid of being fired for whatever reason. That was just a scary thing for me. It's like what Michael said.

Jeremy Lee
He said, Jesus, in a lot of churches, Jesus would not have been seen as a success, I'll take that a step further and say, I think I've worked at some churches where Jesus would have gotten fired.

Jeremy Lee
And I'll say this, I'll say this. If I have a regret in that season, I wish I would have pulled away, because I think if I pulled away in a spiritual retreat, Jesus could have whispered that to my heart a lot easier. And I could have heard it. So that's where I'm at on that.

Elisabeth Lee
I think that for me, when I was working on staff at churches and in ministry and I was at a. Similar to what Michael talked about, which is I'm performing well, but I'm operating from an unhealthy place. I was afraid to pull away because I knew if I pulled away, I would have to face what I think I know deep down in my heart about the fact that I was operating in a machine and operating because I just didn't want to fail.

Elisabeth Lee
And in doing that, I was almost afraid to pull away because I cared way more about people thinking I'm doing a good job.

Elisabeth Lee
And I knew if I pulled away, I'd have to face it. And I think that's why I experienced burnout at the age of 29 pretty early. Usually people go through the midlife crisis. You know, I went through it a decade early and and I'm thankful for it, although it's a beauty from ashes moment in my story. I'm thankful for it in that I learned early that that retreat in that time and that that get away the sacred space that I call it, when I get to meet with Jesus in the quiet, it is the place that I now want more than anything.

Elisabeth Lee
And I struggle now to leave those moments to enter back into the world. And He's like, hey, I go with you. we're taking that sacred space. It's on the go. It's not just pulling away sometimes now it's like, no, it's you got to be in the world. Not of it, but you've got to be in it. Let's go, sister.

Jeremy Lee
Last week with we talked about burnout in those kind of things. And the the big check point there was if I can't recover, if I if I'm spending my energy and I can't seem to recover, I got to understand potentially I'm a burnout. And I think this week one of the checkpoints for us has to be if I'm not willing to be alone, if I'm if I'm keeping myself busy so I don't have to be alone because I'm in essence, avoiding wanting to hear the still small voice, because I'm scared of what it's going to say.

Jeremy Lee
Well, then that's a checkpoint as well. Another thing that Michael is about to talk about that's a checkpoint for us is if we get stuck in comparison. Here's what he says about that.

Michael Bayne
We all struggle with this, so we are trapped because of our interconnectedness with comparison, because I can see the best parts of other people's ministries in life because that's what they share on social media. And that's what they share. So like we go to a network meeting or we connect with some friends and they're not necessarily telling us about their struggles.

Michael Bayne
They're like giving us the best of, the top 10 song list of their ministry Comparison is a killer of the soul. And so, like, retreat allows us to get away. Stop comparing and let God be the voice evaluating what we're doing.

Elisabeth Lee
Goodness, I think that he's so spot on with this multiple ways of comparison can occur. Obviously, social media has amplified that entirely. But I think about not just personally but professionally, it can be so toxic would be the word I would use because the social media piece is he said you get the best of someone else so you only know their best, but I know all of me.

Elisabeth Lee
And then you begin to compare. And I think one of the things, too, that's just personally but then discussion of professionally, I think sometimes and I believe this is a strategy of the enemy because our struggle's not against flesh and blood, but the enemy loves to say, hey, you as a ministry leader, you're doing this. But oh, my goodness, do you know about that church across the street or do you know about that church over there?

Elisabeth Lee
They have more numbers or they are doing this or they're doing that and you need to be more like them. And that comparison, it's just so toxic that it begins to make you feel not enough. And then shame and the shame spiral. And then we get on that track where we compete. And competition is just so unhealthy. That's not how Jesus operates because we're on the same team. That's extremely difficult when we're comparing ourselves to others or maybe our authorities comparing us to other well, if you as a Children's ministry leader or youth ministry leader, Why aren't you, like, so and so? You know, and it becomes this. We're pitted against each other instead of being for each other.

Jeremy Lee
And another thing that is driving this desire to compare along with this avoiding spiritual retreat is this idea of ambition. I can speak from experience on this. When I was eighteen years old, I told myself I'm going to be the best youth minister in America for some reason, some cocky little eighteen year old and I just began my ministry journey fueled by ambition. And through so much brokenness, failure and so much else, God has had to show me that the one thing he doesn't want or need is my ambition.

Jeremy Lee
What he wants is what Michael was saying about my faithfulness and it's in a rhythm of spiritual retreat. We get to understand that. And that has taken way too long for me to figure out

Elisabeth Lee
We don't ever arrive. I'm really thankful as we close out our last bit of Michael's interview. If you're listening and your a ministry leader, that is in a place of authority, meaning you've got interns or maybe your a pastor and your overseeing a children's ministry leader or a youth ministry leader, what Michael shares in this next clip I thought was so creative and just genius. And I look forward to you guys hearing him.

Michael Bayne
So I saw this model from a mentor of mine. He was a senior pastor and I was in a church setting where they had taken all of our conference money away. And in lieu of that, they said, hey, we're going to give you more time for to get away and do simple things. And so, like, every day of the month, everybody got a spiritual retreat day and we didn't have a budget for. But we had the whole day to be creative.

Michael Bayne
And I watched that senior pastor practice that discipline. And to go spend a few hours in a park, you know, to get away and just go to the next town over and just be at a coffee shop with a book and a pencil and pad. And I watched him go to a state park and just walk and be silent and like he just modeled it he didn't brag about it, he would just give me a little glimpses of what he did.

Michael Bayne
And so all of this can be put into practice. Regardless of your budget, and so when you say I don't have time, the pushback that I have is if you don't find a way to put spiritual time, spiritual retreat in your ministry, you will crash. And the reason I know that is because I crashed emotionally. So I know it. So I mean, this is all three of us know each other.

Michael Bayne
We're all three very driven people and we've all three been through it trying to do this on our own self effort. Apart from retreat, we tried to do it our way, but Jesus models a better way. And so I just challenged the opposition, look at the life of Jesus and then and then really wrestle with it.

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