North Carolina Baptist ministers (65+) gathered March 31 at the Hawthorne Inn in Winston-Salem for encouragement, fellowship and worship. The theme of Faith Quest 2 was “Exploring Worth-ship.” This second ENCORE event is part of North Carolina Baptist Aging Ministry’s (NCBAM) Servant Care outreach to the state’s pastors, missionaries and other ministers 65+. The event was supported by a special gift from the Baptist State Convention of N.C.
As part of the “responding to the call of God” worship experience and the story of the four who carried a paralytic to Jesus, Faith Quest 2 attendees prayerfully consider who is on their blanket or in what ways they see themselves as the one being carried.
Sandy Gregory, NCBAM director, explains the purpose of ENCORE events: “They provide a place for ministers to reflect and to grow with others who have travelled similar paths and who speak the same language – who understand that the gifts and calling of God don’t come with expiration dates.”
The event provided a neutral space for ministers to come together in worship and to jointly and individually examine purpose and calling at this time of life. Jack Causey and David Moore led three “worth-ship” experiences: “Gathering in the Name of God,” “Hearing the Voice of God” and “Responding to the Call of God.” Each experience engaged all the senses as participants partook of communion, washed each other’s hands, and prayerfully reenacted carrying a paralytic to Jesus. Responsive conversations in small groups followed each experience. David Williamson provided special music.
“The worth-ship experiences were wonderful times of renewal and refreshment,” said Michael C. Blackwell, Baptist Children’s Homes of N.C. president/CEO and NCBAM founder, reflecting on the day. “The leaders and facilitators were seasoned veterans of leading small groups and they quickly built a community of trust.”
A common response of attendees from this year’s event as well as the inaugural event in 2014 was the value placed on the opportunity for fellowship and worship with kindred souls.
One Faith Quest attendee wrote this note about his experience: “The entire staff made one feel glad to be present. Whatever agenda is planned for next time, I will be pleased with it, because fellowship is the most important element.