President Randall and Barbara Bach hosted their 12th and final annual retreat with Open Bible’s Executive Leadership Team (ELT) February 8-11 in beautiful Jacksonville, Florida.
ELT retreats are designed to afford leaders time away from normal routines to encourage, inspire, and pray for each other. They include opportunities to relax, pray, and have fun together and to share visions, victories, and challenges with each other.
President Bach reflected on the significance of the retreats:
When I assumed this office there were many things about future direction that I did not yet know. However, my heart was very settled about a priority of building relationships among regional executive directors. While those relationships had always been cordial, they were not as close, transparent, and mutually supportive as I believed they should be. The only way those relationships could be nurtured would be to spend time together and vulnerably share about our lives and ministries. So in 2012, I launched our first annual retreat for REDs and their spouses. Later after restructuring, the secretary/treasurer and Global Missions director and their spouses were included. Those are the top executive leaders in Open Bible Churches. It has been gratifying to indeed witness relationships deepen, to experience mutual sharing and praying for each other become free and affirming, and to also enjoy the fruit of getting away together to a retreat setting. We devote time to work, fellowship, prayer, and fun, like an extended family should. Barbara and I will miss these times of retreat with our leaders. They represent quality. Open Bible ministers and churches should be thankful for their leaders’ dedication and walk of faithfulness. Open Bible is blessed!
The retreat delivered! Here are comments from some of the leaders:
We enjoyed our time in Jacksonville with the ELT. Getting to know each team member and deepening relationship through spiritual reflection and prayer was a highlight. Working on meaningful policies and strategies for Open Bible with these leaders reminds me that our churches and ministers deserve leaders who think of them often, fondly, and with concern for their hard work and dedication to the Great Commission. The future of our movement is bright and so very important.
– Derek Sissel, Mountain Plains Region Executive Director
Robin and I always enjoy gathering with other Open Bible leaders for fellowship, prayer, and collaboration—especially in a warm, sunny part of the country. It gives us opportunity to deepen relationships, learn from one another, and enhance and expand the work of Open Bible Churches. This year was also a milestone as we shared our final ELT retreat with President Randall and Barbara Bach, who initiated these gatherings over a decade ago. We are always stronger together.
– Bruce Pfadenhauer, Central Region Executive Director
I absolutely love our time together! We all know that ministry is challenging, and sometimes it’s pretty lonely as well. It is such an encouragement to me to get to spend time together! I always look forward to this retreat, and I am so thankful that President Bach and Barbara take the time to plan it for us! It truly is such a blessing!
– Candi Hagan, Executive Assistant, Southeast Region
Executive Leadership Team
Participants of the 2023 ELT retreat, including spouses: (left to right) Chris Hansler, Pacific Region Executive Director; Derek Sissel, Mountain Plains Region Executive Director; Brian Ehlers, Open Bible Secretary/Treasurer; Angie Sissel; Randall Bach, Open Bible President; Barbara Bach; Bruce Pfadenhauer, Central Region Executive Director; Robin Pfadenhauer; Lois McCarty; Vince McCarty, Global Missions Executive Director; Candi Hagan; Nathan Hagan, Southeast Region Executive Director; Josh Grimes, East Region Executive Director
Melissa Grimes and Darcy Ehlers were unable to attend the retreat.