Train Leaders or Feed the Poor

I am so glad that the Lord seems to be opening the door to a retreat center for Woodside. We have prayed and looked for this for over 20 years. You can read about the three major purposes for the retreat center on the website (woodsidebible.org/retreatcenter). Simply stated, the retreat center is for marriage enrichment, leadership training (team building, neighborhood group retreats, departmental leadership development, campus pastor alignment, etc.), and pastors’ enrichment (for area pastors and staffs).

I rejoice in that not only are we getting a great deal on the property, the entire amount of $800,000 has been donated by a few Woodside families who see the importance of this to strengthening our mission.

Recently someone asked the question, why would we not just give all the money to feed the poor instead of purchasing a retreat center. Let me answer the question in several ways.

First, it is not a question of either/or. At Woodside, we have the capacity to feed the poor and minister to the physical as well as the spiritual needs of people. We have spent a lot of money on the dream centers (locally) where we serve hundreds of hot meals every week. Additionally, we do food boxes for families, providing several meals in each box.

Second, we must understand how priorities fit together. Which is more important – training leaders or feeding the poor? Yes – they are both important. Priorities don’t have to work against each other, but with each other.

Third, it is necessary to build our base. The stronger our base, the greater our reach. Before we built the present Troy campus, there were critics who thought we could better spend the money evangelizing a particular group of people. I explained then the importance of strengthening our base so that we could do multiple times more evangelism. We have seen that come true. Eleven years later we are reaching many more people worldwide. We have international partnerships, orphanages, Bible translation projects, dream centers, multiple campuses, home builds, job training, etc. Remember – the stronger our base, the greater our reach.

We believe that the answer for the world today is Jesus and the task of communicating the gospel of Christ has been given to the church. And yet the church, its leaders and its marriages are under major attack. Christian marriages are struggling and over 1,000 pastors every month leave ministry (see our website for statistics). The purposes of the retreat center take a long-term approach of strengthening these areas so the church can be all that God intended it to be.