Pastor John Hinze and his wife, Marcia, partnered with a mission team from their state of New Mexico, First Baptist Church, Artesia, to lead a Pastors and Families Retreat for the Dakota Baptist Convention, Aug. 19-21, in Aberdeen. The opportunity was sparked by an invitation from Dakota Baptist Convention Executive Director Fred McDonald, who formerly pastored and served as a director of missions in New Mexico.
Promoted as a time of relaxation and renewal, the event was open to all pastors, associate pastors and other ministry staff leaders, along with their families. Though DBC has sponsored pastors and wives retreats in the past, this is the first year that children were invited. The DBC consists of all the Southern Baptist churches in North and South Dakota. Aberdeen is centrally located for both states.
‘Fishbowl’ of ministry
The gathering drew 57 pastors, wives and children from several churches. Hinze, pastor of First Baptist Church, Tucumcari, New Mexico, led the pastors and wives sessions, and he spoke about cherishing your mate and cherishing God. “When you cherish your mate, you keep no record of wrongs, just as God keeps no record of wrongs when we have experienced His salvation,” Hinze said. “Your spouse is unique so cherish them as a unique individual. You can’t compare them to anyone else in the world. They are one of a kind. What a blessing that is.”
Ben Cox, FBC Artesia’s student pastor, and his team led sessions for junior high and high school students, and Mike Wright, FBC Artesia’s associate pastor of worship, led a team who worked with grade school students. Wright said the goal was to “encourage kids as they live life in the ‘fishbowl’ of ministry and [help them] to own their own faith. Our team members were moved by the opportunity to love and encourage ministry kids.” Three ladies from one of the Dakota churches cared for preschoolers.
The retreat offered an all-family picnic on Friday afternoon. Then, families had the rest of the afternoon for family activities. The DBC also provided tickets to local amusement venues.
‘Go and make disciples’
Speaking about the importance of this mission trip to his church, Wright said, “With COVID-19 posing challenges for places to go on mission, this provided a good opportunity to reinvigorate our church’s vision for missions partnerships and whet our appetite to ‘go and make disciples.’ We are praying to see if there can be some future partnerships with some of the churches in the Dakotas as we refocus our missional footprint.”
Hinze reflected on the event, saying, “It was a joy and privilege to be with the folks in the Dakotas with my precious bride Marcia. Our prayer and hope for our time together in the Dakotas was to help them to know that when a husband and wife feel cherished in their marriage, it will bring out the best in them.”
The retreat “was a great time of encouragement and fellowship for our pastors and their wives,” McDonald said. “They experience a lot of loneliness in a place where the nearest Southern Baptist (or even evangelical) church can be 75-100 miles away. Many expressed that it was a very refreshing time for them.”