A Weekend at CMML | Reaching Higher Unites and Edifies Young Adults
By Sarah Dunlap
Late in the summer, the CMML office is abuzz with preparations for Reaching Higher, our weekend retreat for young adults ages 20–39. This year, we planned to host the event from September 15 to 17 at our facility in Wall Township, New Jersey. Days before, a cool breeze swept in and announced autumn while contributing a fresh, energized tone to the weekend of Bible teaching and fellowship.
On Friday night, we welcomed the attendees and helped them settle in. The 49 young adults came from the US, Mexico, and Germany; a handful were drive-ins, but most were overnight guests staying in the CMML Missionary Guest Home. Many were also newcomers who, from the moment they entered the building, commented on its size and distinguished Tudor style.
Besides settling in, Friday night included supper, an icebreaker game before the event’s first meeting, and free time. Throughout the evening, the friendly group got to know each other—many having never met and living states or countries apart. The speaker himself, Dan (Missionary Prayer Handbook Day 24), and his coworker came from a distant special-areas country, where they serve the Lord.
Saturday morning started early with men’s and women’s prayer times at 7:30 followed by breakfast. The second ministry meeting began at 9:00 a.m., when Dan dug into the theme of “Disciples Useful to the Master.” He encouraged the attendees to seek Christ’s kingdom above all, asking, “Are you seeking your ‘best life’ now or eternal life?” Throughout the weekend, Dan tackled topics such as God’s will, confidence in the Lord, petitionary prayer, and proactive versus reactive responses. All the while, he used personal anecdotes to illustrate what discipleship looks like in his country of service: living among the people, working with them, and laughing, weeping, and growing in Christ together.
After lunch, everyone enjoyed free time. Some opted to hang out around the house; others visited the nearby beach and surrounding towns. Then, the Bible teaching resumed with breakout sessions scattered around the house.
The participants divided into three groups and, working in rotation, listened to three seminars: Dan discussed the Lord’s work in his special-areas country, Scott and Michelle Dunkerton (New Jersey) shared thoughts on singleness, and John Peasland (CMML’s executive director) presented on business as missions.
Saturday evening held a catered dinner and another message from Dan, where he addressed five things that result from tested faith. Afterward, Craig Fritchey (CMML assembly relations and security) moderated a Q&A session with Dan using questions the attendees had submitted.
On Sunday, a Breaking of Bread service, Dan’s final message, and a fried-chicken lunch rounded out the weekend. Around 2:00 p.m., we said goodbye to the participants, and they began their trips home—some a short car ride away; others a journey as far as California and Mexico.
While chatting with the attendees, we discovered what they valued about Reaching Higher. One shared, “This was my first time at Reaching Higher, and I was so impressed. I enjoyed the weekend so much, especially the great, practical Bible teaching and meeting new friends.” Another said that she appreciated the conference setting, which facilitated serious conversations with like-minded Christians. We thank the Lord that Reaching Higher encouraged this year’s participants and pray He will use it again in 2024.
Sarah Dunlap, Missions editor
Originally published in Missions magazine, December 2023. For more content, sign up for a free subscription (US) to Missions at CMML.us/magazine/subscribe