Tag Archives: church leadership


We hope that you will enjoy our “prayer note” — an internal communication, here at The Cove, created each month to remind and encourage our staff to pray.  We will share these with you at the beginning of each month in hopes that, you too, will be encouraged.

Prayer Note(3)

By Donna Riesen

Pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17, NKJV)

We made it through! Although much of the snow has melted, images remain frozen in our memories…we, the survivors of “The Blizzard of 2016.”

The huge winter storm affected the entire eastern third of our nation and disrupted the lives of more than 100 million people. Aside from the usual snow-day inconveniences of school closings and grocery stores emptied of milk and bread, there were serious and deadly consequences resulting from this massive weather system. At present, the total number of deaths attributed to the storm stands at 55. At any given moment during the storm or in its immediate aftermath, a look at online news feeds and TV newscasts revealed a study in contrasts.

One minute we viewed pics of adorable snow-suit clad children sledding with dad; next, we heard accounts of horrific traffic fatalities as semi-trucks lost control on icy highways. We grinned as we watched a Giant Panda delightedly frolicking in the powdery snow…but grins faded as we heard the tragic report of a mother and toddler who perished in their idling car—deaths blamed on carbon monoxide poisoning as a result of the vehicle’s clogged tailpipe. Our hearts broke as we learned the child’s father had been just outside, shoveling to free the car of snow.

In an odd confluence of events, we saw simultaneously the breathtaking beauty of a world covered in glistening white…”Yaaay, God!”…and the heartrending tragedy of death and destruction…”Why, God?” The varied images of the blizzard brought it into focus again: The human condition exists in a kaleidoscopic jumble of joy and pain, laughter and tears, hope and despair. At any moment, you may have a relative suffering from cancer and another celebrating the birth of their first child. On any given Sunday, your pastor may be preaching to a business professional who just received a promotion, and another who never found work after last year’s layoff.

The Old Testament records the account of Job, who after learning of the loss of his cattle, servants and even his own sons, held tight to his faith as he issued this challenge to his wife, Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity? (Job 2:10, NKJV).

As the account of this faithful man’s suffering continues, we see him begin to question God. Yet among the many lessons the book of Job teaches us, one of the most important is this: God is big enough to handle our questions. In Job chapter 38, God lays out some questions of His own, all designed to lift Job’s eyes away from his current dire situation and up to the omnipotent, sovereign God who created and sustained him. Among the many revealing questionsGod asked Job is this: “Have you entered the storehouses of the snow or seen the storehouses of the hail?” (Job 38:22, NIV).

Rather than providing a detailed meteorological map and a lesson on low pressure systems and atmospheric phenomena, God gave Job a vivid mental image of the true Source of blizzard conditions. When we’re hit with a storm of trouble and “Yaay, God!” changes to “Why, God?”, we’re tempted to ask, “Who’s minding the storehouse?” The God who’s big enough to handle our questions answers, “I AM.” There are other biblical references to God’s storehouses. The psalmist David reminds us, “He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth; He sends lightning with the rain and bring out the wind from His storehouses.” (Psalm 135:7, NIV).

In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gave us this reassurance: “Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds?” (Luke 12:24, NIV)

After confronting the Israelites with their sins of apathy, unfaithfulness and corruption, the prophet Malachi delivers God’s message of hope, promising blessing to His children if they will turn back to Him in repentance and obedience:

“’Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,’ says the Lord Almighty,’and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.’” (Malachi 3:10).

On any given day in 2016, we will minister to a wide range of people at The Cove. When this year’s seminar season begins on February 12 with the Chip Ingram Military Marriage Retreat, some of the military personnel who attend will have just returned home from a long deployment. No doubt there will be couples whose marriage is near breaking from the strain of long periods of separation and stress. Others may be visiting The Cove simply as a relaxing getaway and a means of celebrating and strengthening an already strong marital bond. Newlyweds and seasoned marriage partners will be in attendance—each person as individual as a snowflake. How can we adequately minister to the heart of each participant? We can’t, but God can! Pray that He will throw open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing on these men and women. Pray that God will open their hearts to each other and to Him.

The February 24-26 Leadership Renewal Retreat with Jim Henry will bring pastors from various denominations and varied situations. One pastor and spouse may arrive with joy and excitement, happy to be attending the retreat and anticipating some well-deserved downtime. Another pastoral couple may come with heavy hearts, seeking respite from a troubled ministry that is strained to the breaking point. Each retreat participant will arrive with a different set of needs and expectations, but all will be knocking at the door of the same Storehouse. Pray that the blessings of refreshment, renewal and encouragement will be poured out upon these faithful servants. Praise God, He hears our prayers, and His storehouse is never empty.


Join us in praying for the following events in February:

(For more information or to register, click on the links below.)

Women’s Bible Study with Jane Derrick — Morning:
January 12-February 23
Love that Makes A Difference

Women’s Bible Study with Kendra Graham — Evening:
January 12-February 23
Portrait of a Disciple

Military Marriage Retreat:
Experiencing God’s Best for Your Marriage
with Chip Ingram — February 12-14

An Evening at The Cove (dinner, concert, and meet & greet) with Brandon Heath — February 14 (lodging also available)

Leadership Renewal RetreatFree to Lead: Encouraging the Shepherd with Jim Henry — February 24-26
NOTE: This retreat is free to qualifying pastors and their spouses.

We appreciate your prayers.  God bless you!

Discipleship Multiplication Training at The Cove

Great Commission

On May 8-10, 2014, pastors and small group Bible study leaders are invited to participate in the Great Commission Discipleship training program at The Cove. 

Participants will be equipped to experience and model a lifestyle of consistent spiritual growth, personal witness, and relational ministry in their own churches and communities.  

What happens when trained in this New Testament disciple-making process? 

Spiritual multiplication! 

Pastor Bill Boldt from Southern Heights Baptist Church in Kentucky, who attended a training earlier this year shares his “multiplication” experience here:

“My wife and I were there in January along with our youth minister and we were truly blessed. Since we have come back the three of us are now mentoring two individuals each and the success we are seeing in these people’s lives is incredible. They are witnessing and learning the Word of God at a marvelous rate and growing in the Lord.

We have made it a requirement of all of our new incoming members to go under the guidance of a mentor for at least seven weeks to go through the Call to Joy and then if they desire to go on, into the Call to Growth. I have one who has just started the Call to Growth after going through the Call to Joy and says he cannot get enough of God’s Word. He is very thirsty. He was a twenty year functioning alcoholic with a huge smoking habit. He has quit both of those vices and is now 5 months clean and growing in Christ.

We have now formed a team of Paul’s at our church and they are almost ready to begin mentoring others. We are sending six more to The Cove in May to return and be a part of the mentoring team. It has really taken off in our church and we are excited about what the Lord is going to do in the future. I believe that after 2-5 years of this style of mentoring our church will look entirely different and will have depth that it has never had before.

Thank you for the work you have done.  I look forward to our folks return when they come in May. God is so good.”

Take this opportunity to invest in your church while immersing yourself in the beautiful mountain setting of The Cove in Asheville, North Carolina.

For more information, such as schedule of events and cost breakdown, click here

To register, call 1-800-950-2092.

NOTE: Advanced Training sessions will be available for those who attended the Basic training in January.World Medical Mission, 2013 Prescription for Renewal, BGTC at The Cove



Great Opportunity for Ministry Teams


You and your ministry team are personally invited to one of our most exciting opportunities at The Cove this year.

August 9-10, Michael Catt, senior pastor at Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia, will be leading a Church Staff Retreat titled You Can’t Have a Vision If Your Head
Is in a Box.  As you may know, Michael is the co-founder of Sherwood Pictures and has produced influential Christian movies such as Courageous, Fireproof, and Facing the Giants.

This two-day retreat includes plenary sessions and Q&A with Michael as well as time to meet together with your team for planning, interaction, and reflection.  Join him as he shares insights on how to discover and unleash God-given, Spirit-inspired creativity that can transform your ministry and impact your community for Christ.

On behalf of the entire team at The Cove, we hope you will give us the opportunity to serve you here.  May God richly bless you.


Franklin Graham
Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

To register or for more information on this Church Staff Retreat, click here or call 1-800-950-2092.

GUEST POST: What a Church Needs in Times of Change

By Reggie McNeal

Things were on fire—well, not literally, but in terms of church conflict, things were heating up.  FAST!  I had been called in to present a leadership workshop about the future, but when I got to the church, it was too obvious that talking about the future would be a waste of energy, because the collision of the past and present was creating too much smoke to see clearly into a new chapter.

I was too late to the scene really, because the smoldering embers of discontent had erupted in the preceding weeks and there was just too much trash around by then waiting to combust. The result? A fired pastor, a congregation in turmoil, and a steady advance to the PAST.  Setting up for the same scenario again in the future.

So, what was the problem here?  A moral failure?  Absolutely not.  Poor vision for the future?  Actually, what was being proposed was spot on.  Was there a lack of talent on the team?  Nope. The players were seasoned veterans.

The cause of the conflagration was one of the most common accelerants determined to be the problem in these cases: blown change leadership

In this particular instance, no one had warned of the impending disaster. Leaders mis-read the situation. Some actions were too fast; others, too slow.  The bottom line: unavoidable conflict and there is always tension when dis-stasis occurs during change escalated into avoidable staff and leadership disruptions.

So, how could the unnecessary fall-out have been avoided? By addressing two areas that church leaders are often inadequately prepared to deal with: better change management and transition leadership. While spiritual forces are always at play in these situations, more often the dynamics revolve around psychological and emotional forces.  People act like people everywhere and respond to change and transition at church like they do in every other arena. Learning how to deal with these powerful forces is Change Leadership 101.

On May 23-24 I will be leading a Church Staff Retreat at the Cove. The focus of these two days will be equipping you and your leadership team with information and insight for giving leadership during times of great change and transition.  The workshop will help you know some of the major shifts that are creating the need for change as well as arm you with strategies for dealing with each stage of transition. 

Good leaders and good ideas are too precious not to be protected against going down in flames during the change process.  These two days at the Cove should provide you with great insurance.

Please share this information with the pastors in your area. 

Reggie McNeal’s Church Staff Retreat titled Charting New Territory: How to Lead Others in Times of Change takes place on May 23-24 at The Cove in Asheville, NC.  To register click here or call 1-800-950-2092.

Reggie McNeal is an accomplished author, a founding pastor, and the missional leadership specialist for Leadership Network. He has spent more than a decade as a denominational executive and leadership development coach and has taught as adjunct faculty for Fuller Theological Seminary, Southwestern Baptist Seminary, and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.