I had the pleasure and challenge of being the speaker for two churches that decided to do a weekend retreat together. The diversity was remarkable, and it added to the worship experience immeasurably.

There were African American, Caucasian, Asian and Latinos in the two congregations. There were men and women, young and mature alike. It was so impressive to see these two pastors whose humility allowed them to share a theme and a facility, and their congregations were just as hospitable. There were people in attendance that had been saved for just a few months from some of the most talked about sins imaginable, and yet there were others who had been saved for many years and raised in the church, however you would not be able to tell by the way they treated and related to each other. The love, fellowship and worship made me feel like it was designed to be this way. A Slice of Heaven.

The theme of the weekend was "I Won’t Go Back." Each person was challenged to examine their lives and to repent from those things that are not like our God, and to trust God to not go back to them. Using the lessons learned from the Israelites in the book of Exodus, we allowed their narrative to enlighten, encourage, and warn us. On Sunday after my final message there was time designated for reflection and testimony. During this time the tears continued to flow from men and women alike as one after another discussed how the Holy Spirit worked on their heart during the course of the weekend. It was nearly impossible to sit there and not be emotionally affected by the powerful heartfelt reflections. A Slice of Heaven.

It was the first time these churches did a retreat together, but I’m sure it will not be there last. If you’re wondering how these two churches got along so well, I must say it probably had something to do with both of these pastors being Biblical alumni.

Larry L. Anderson Jr. is Assistant Professor of Practical Theology and the Director of the Urban Programs at Biblical. He is also the pastor of Great Commission Church, previously located in the suburb of Roslyn, PA, but now situated in the West Oak Lane community of Philadelphia to provide a holistic ministry to an urban setting.


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