2012 was the year of transition from Standing Stone Ranch to Standing Stone Ministry. We loved our 17 years on the ranch but know God has called us to a much greater purpose. Our mission remains to offer ministry leaders and their spouses, one couple at a time, a week retreat in a beautiful location where they are hosted with excellence and mentored with love. Now, however, these retreats will be happening all over the world. This transitional year has been full of, surprises,excitement, and challenges.
There have been several surprises in this year of transition. God has taken a ‘Mom & Pop’ ministry called Standing Stone Ranch to a new level called Standing Stone Ministry (SSM). The biggest surprise is how God has brought twenty amazing mentor couples into the SSM family. Each one of these couples has years of ministry experience so they understand the unique pressure ministry leaders are under on a day-to day basis. It is their passion to help shepherd the shepherds. They know that strong ministry leaders will create strong followers of Jesus and strong followers of Jesus will change the world. We’ve also been surprised at the number of people who have offered to share their beautiful vacation homes to host a retreat.
Many exciting things have taken place too. It’s been very exciting hearing the unbelievable stories from the mentees who have experienced a SSM retreat. The first retreat outside of the ranch happened in the Eastern Congo. The mentees had a life changing experience. Their comment was: “You have to do more retreats in Africa. We really need what Standing Stone has to offer!” These stories confirm to us that mentoring can change lives and help ministry leaders stay strong all over the world.
The challenges are many. It is obvious that the need is great. Last February we attended a conference for a large vocational ministry. We had 25 couples sign up for a Standing Stone Retreat and at that time had only 12 trained mentor couples. We quickly realized we need to focus on training more couples who have the passion to shepherd shepherds. Although to date we have trained 20 couples, our goal is to have an additional 40 by 2014. Also, connecting the dots between the mentor, mentee and availability of the home is quite a challenge.
We are very grateful to have hired an assistant, Amanda Tong that is going to be helping us in this area. Communication and social networking is a challenge too. We’ll be trying to keep you better informed on a regular basis about what is happening at Standing Stone Ministry through Facebook and emails.
We are looking forward with great hope and anticipation to see what 2013 brings our way. Buckle your seat belts; it’s bound to be an exciting ride!
Just following Jesus,
Jim & Debbie