We just finished our annual retreat for ministry partners at Wind River Ranch in Colorado. The picture above shows our New Orleans partner Ben McLeish (left) from St. Roch Community Church talking things over with Tim Mitchell, our partner from Parker Street Ministries in Lakeland, FL.

I could talk about the benefits of this week together for months. But one of the really great things about our annual retreat is it affords time for our ministry partners to connect and share ideas, struggles and hopes, and to talk about what works and what doesn’t! Every neighborhood is different, and while some programs or relationship-building efforts work well in one place, they may totally bomb in another.

Our history at Desire Street includes 20 years of hands-on urban ministry, and our ministry team is well-seasoned in ministry and leadership—but we’re quick to admit that we don’t know all the answers. Our partners also have experience in ministry; it’s one of the requirements of being a DSM ministry partner. And so when we all get together in one place, we have the chance to interact, to learn from each others’ successes and failures, to tell the stories that have changed our lives and ministry, and to learn from one another.

We call it mutual encouragement, and it’s one of the ministry principles that make Desire Street what it is. Together we help each other up. Together we all become stronger. Together we all learn more about God’s grace and love for the inner city.

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