As Iron Sharpens Iron

by Ginger Bowman on October 26, 2016 in announcement

Chris Millar of University Heights Baptist Church in Huntsville and Bobby Smith of First Baptist Church Nacogdoches share their stories from last year's Church College Ministry Retreat.

Chris Millar shares: It was my first time going to the college minster's retreat as a married man and I was excited that my wife could come along with me. We came up a day early to take advantage of some time away and to simply take a breath in the midst of all that college ministry is in the months between August and November. I have often heard about the toll that ministry can take on a marriage so I have often tried to connect with others who are further along and still following Jesus well. It was at this retreat that the Lord gave us a truly incredible gift in meeting Bobby and Laura from First Baptist Nacogdoches.

One of the highlights of this retreat for me personally is getting to spend time chatting with other college pastor's and their adult leaders to see what is working and what isn't in their ministry. Sitting around a table and white-boarding different ideas is always helpful and refreshing for me personally. It was one of these sessions where Ashley (my wife) and I got to meet Bobby and Laura,and I am so thankful we did. They invited us out to lunch after the retreat, and ever since that weekend we have stayed in touch every week through praying for one another. They continue to be an incredible blessing and encouragement to us and even made a trip to Huntsville recently to take us out to lunch! I hope to be a helpful friend to someone that the Lord places in my path this year at the retreat because of how much Bobby and Laura's friendship has meant to us in this season of ministry.

Bobby Smith writes: Laura and I are always excited to get away and spend time with other University ministers, leaders, and co workers. When we had the chance to go last October to the retreat at the “Lost Pines, Hyatt “ we couldn’t resist. It was close enough to drive and I knew it would provide us with some good time away from the daily routine that both of us find ourselves in sometimes. Laura needed a break and so did I. After 33 years of marriage I also know how important it is for us to spend some quality time with each other and without the distractions of our ministries. So, we turned the cell phones on silent, packed up the car, and headed to the beautiful hill country.

I have always told Laura when I attend conferences, that if I can come away with just one thing, then it was a valuable conference. The conference last year met those expectations and honestly passed them in multiple ways. The discussion groups were so invaluable. Just hearing the wonderful victories that others are having in their ministry is such an encouragement. And then listening to the heartfelt struggles reminded us that we are not the only ones who hurt for our students and wonder if we have missed the mark at times in our ministry. The joyfulness of sharing time with others who are like minded in invaluable and something that every College Minister should do annually.

The highlight of the week for Laura and I was without a doubt meeting Chris and Ashley Millar. Chris and Ashley are ministering through the local church to the students that attend Sam Houston State. Laura and I saw ourselves in their faces as we remembered being fresh in the ministry over 30 years ago now. What a joy it was to hear their enthusiasm for their calling and listen to their hearts desire to see students come to Jesus. They asked us questions about marriage, children, and ministry and how to serve each of those areas effectively. We tried to pass on our knowledge and encourage them, but honestly they encouraged us. They reminded us of the importance of what we do. They reminded us of the importance of loving our spouses well. And they reminded us of the importance of prayer. The most powerful words that someone can speak are “how can I pray for you” and truly mean it when they say it. Chris has that gift and has shared it with me for a solid year now. Every Wednesday morning I get a text from Chris asking how he can pray for me. That simple text brings more joy than you will ever know. Laura and I went to a retreat last year looking for one good thing to take back to Nacogdoches with us. We found that one good thing in our friendship with Chris and Ashley. Please pray for them as they are expecting their first baby that they will be Godly parents and continue to love students well. I hope and pray that you will come this year to the retreat and that you will have the joy of learning some valuable things and meeting some wonderful friends like Chris and Ashley Millar.

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