The Standing Stone story is a God story. Looking back over the last years of Standing Stone we can see God’s inspiration and his fingerprints everywhere.
This ministry was birthed because three generations of our family suffered the consequences of having a pastor burn out and that last one – third time’s a charm.
We looked at each other and we said, “imagine what we could do for God’s kingdom if we could prevent one of these pastors from falling?” So we built Standing Stone Ranch at a log home in Chromo Colorado on the Navajo River.
We began inviting ministry couples, one couple at a time to come away by yourselves to a quiet place and get rest.
We immediately saw the need that these couples had to come to a place where they could form a safe and trusted relationship in a place where they could let their hair down and really be themselves.
What ended up happening is that on the third day they usually would say to us, “we’re going to tell you something we’ve never told anyone before.” The end result was that when they left, that wasn’t the end of the relationship, in fact it was really just the beginning because lifelong trusted relationships had been built.
We also found that most Ministry couples didn’t know how to have fun. They’d show up with these glum faces and we asked the question, “what do you do for fun?” and there’s a big blank on a stare on their face so we help them have fun.
You know we saw lives changed. We saw marriages transformed, we saw Ministries revived. It was an amazing thing that God was doing in the lives of these Ministry couples. We quickly saw that the success of this ministry was getting beyond Debbie and I, so I went and talked to Bob Shank and said Bob, “what should we do?” and Bob said to me, “why do you think you and Debbie are the only ones who can do this? Go out and train other people to do what you do.”
But I reminded him that we couldn’t do them all here at the ranch and he said to me, “Jim you and I know more people who have vacation homes and we could have them there. Go ask these people to lend you God’s home for a week.”
So we began training other couples to do retreats, we then sold our Ranch in Colorado and moved back to California and changed the name of the ministry from Standing Stone Ranch to Standing Stone Ministry.
We want to thank Bob and Sherry Shank from the bottom of our hearts for being the ones that took us under their wings so that we can start this ministry.
One of the first couples that we trained were Ken and Leslie Eichler. Ken came to us with the idea of recruiting other Shepherds that would be proactive of going out and calling on Ministry leaders to form these trusted relationships. They were the boots on the ground.
We found that in addition to doing retreats that we could train more Shepherds that would be able to directly call on Ministry leaders so that we could actually serve more Ministry leaders and their spouses with a quicker time than having to wait to go on Retreat.
When we started this ministry, never could we have imagined that our world and the church would be in the state that it is today. Ministry leaders are under attack more than ever before, so this is a vital ministry.
We had no idea that by now over 20 years that we have 200 Shepherds out there impacting thousands of ministry leaders across the United States and other parts of the world.
We are humbled and honored to be chosen by God to be the founders of this ministry.