I'm in CA, just north of San Diego, for an annual gathering of EFCA pastors of churches whose average attendance is 1000+. This is my third trip and it's one of the most encouraging, refreshing and profitable weeks of the year for me. I always combine this trip with a personal retreat at Pine Valley Bible Camp in the mountains west of San Diego.

The format of the pastors gathering is pretty simple. There are about 30 of us and we sit in a big circle and discuss various topics of our choosing. Even when a discussion is on a subject that doesn't seem to apply (as was much the case with our two discussions today, I came away with some good ideas. And it's not just the formal discussions that are helpful, it's the relationships developed here and the discussions between and after sessions. Over the last two years I've gotten some great advice on issues and opportunities I face as a leader and that we face as a church.