About 100 people from 18 different Christian Reformed churches gathered together recently at Bethany CRC in Bellflower, Calif., for the fourth annual “Fan the Flame” retreat. The event was jointly hosted by Classis Greater Los Angeles and Classis Southern California, regional groups of churches, in partnership with Christian Reformed Home Missions.
The day included communal worship and an address by keynote speaker Dr. Randy Rowland, pastor of Sanctuary CRC in Seattle, Wash. He spoke on the theme “Better Together.” A variety of practical workshops were provided to encourage and equip participants for a new season of service in their communities. These focused on church planting, discipleship, faith in the workplace, and reaching out to youth. Churches were encouraged to use the event as their fall council retreat and to also invite ministry leaders and other church members.
“The event was amazing . . . every year is better,” said Mirtha Villafañe, pastor of the Latin American CRC in Anaheim and the Hispanic Ministry Developer for Classis Southern California.
AJ McCloud, who attends Los Angeles Community CRC and is a member of the Church Empowerment and Networking Team for Classis Greater Los Angeles, explained that the retreat was meant to “facilitate an atmosphere for the Lord to fan into flame the internal passion for Jesus Christ and his church, laying aside the names of individual ministries and churches.”
“Through the speakers, the praise, and the fellowship, Jesus Christ was the centre of attention,” he said. “May we always remember that no individual person, spiritual leader, church body, or denomination is more important than the name of Jesus Christ.”