Introducing: House Beautiful Retreats

Michael & Lynette Hughes

Founders
House Beautiful Retreats

Michael And Lynette 2

Meet the Hughes!

Michael and Lynette have been in ministry since 2009. Michael served with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship in Central and Northeast Wisconsin, first ministering to college students as a campus staff and then serving for three years as an Area Director ministering to campus staff and students.

The Hughes Family moved to South Carolina in 2019 and Michael served as the first Director of Davenant House, a study center for young adults, pastors, and Christian academics.

They have felt called by the Lord to return to Wisconsin in 2024 to begin a 501(c)3 very similar to Be Still called "House Beautiful Retreats," which will be located in the Southwest part of the state near La Crosse. They plan to serve pastors and missionaries along with their families, as well as to provide discipleship for young adults on the local college campuses and through periodic programs or events on site.

House Beautiful Retreats

A Retreat and Study Center for the Relief and Preparation of Pilgrims on their Journey

VISION

Sustainable and faithful lifelong Christian service by pastors, missionaries, young adults, and their families.
We desire to see healthy Christian leaders and young adults, along with their families, who are refreshed, equipped, and strengthened to serve as they are called, to the glory of God and for the good of His kingdom purposes.

 

MISSION

Serve, encourage, equip, and inspire current and rising Christian leaders, their families, and their peers for the good of the Church and to the glory of God.

The Lord knows what each person who comes to stay is in need of, and it is our desire to provide a space, resources, and fellowship that will facilitate this provision. We look to serve and encourage, equip and disciple as appropriate, and stand side by side with fellow servants of our great God and King to His glory and for the good of His people!

As a close associate of Be Still Retreats, we seek to partner with them to serve their important vision and mission through increasing capacity to host pastors, missionaries, and church leaders (active vocational servants in the church) in the Midwest, while expanding upon this vision in two particular ways in our work. At our site, we desire to serve two groups additional to those currently served by BeStill Retreats: 

  1. Families of Vocational Ministers and Missionary Families: We desire to serve those in vocational ministry who desire a family friendly space for they and their family to be ministered to and served by their retreat. This serves to promote healthy families, since the call to ministry impacts the whole family in significant ways. 

  2. Young Adults: We will invest in the next generation of believers, particularly college students, young adults, and young families just starting out. This will be accomplished through regular volunteering and discipleship on local campuses during the school year and hosting occasional special events or retreats for this demographic.  

We believe this will serve the good of the whole body of Christ and the growth of His kingdom as current ministers and missionaries and their families are strengthened for the work and another generation is equipped and rises to take up the call. Mission mobilization starts with learning everyday faithfulness and grows through lifting our eyes to see the fields ripe for the harvest that extend from our own doorstep to the ends of the earth. The ongoing task for all believers is discerning the field we’re called to tend at each stage of life and then faithfully setting our shoulder to the plough.

This expanded vision aims to equip God’s people to discern and live out His calling in every area of life, whatever the outward circumstances or their current call. We will seek to especially help college students and young adults grow in their love for God and learn how to faithfully testify to the truth of the gospel in both word and deed, leading lives of Christ-like service to God and neighbor while teaching and raising up their children to do the same. From rural communities to inner city neighborhoods here in the US with no gospel witness, to post-Christian Europe, from war-torn African countries to tribal unreached peoples of the jungles of Asia or South America - the gospel goes forth from the people of God when they are equipped to live faithful lives of obedience and worship and have a vision to share near and far the good news of the Savior that makes it possible!

What is a Retreat and Study Center?

Retreat - A forced or strategic withdrawal from action (or battle); the act of withdrawing as into safety or seclusion; a place of refuge; a period of retirement from normal routine for spiritual exercises

Study - the act of applying oneself to the acquisition of knowledge or wisdom through reading, investigation, reflection, and/or practice; to think deeply, reflect, or consider; a room in a house or other building set apart for reading, writing or the like (or in the case of study center, a whole property dedicated to this end).

Combining these things, we are seeking to be a place for prayer, discipleship, learning, contemplation, restoration, discernment, equipping, preparation, reflection, and drawing near to God; to provide individuals, ministry teams, and families who come to stay with us the means by which they can be ready for the work of faithful life and ministry in the vocations the Lord has called them to. To serve this vision, in addition to the ministry houses we aim to have a multipurpose space that serves as a chapel/library/meeting room.

Why “House Beautiful”?

In John Bunyan’s classic work “Pilgrim’s Progress”, Christian arrives at the Palace Beautiful after ascending the Hill Difficulty and showing faith to keep to the narrow way between the chained lions on either side of the path that could not reach him if he kept to the center. He spends time with Discretion, Piety, Prudence, and Charity while there, and through this he is encouraged, equipped, and strengthened for the journey ahead. Christian’s time at the Palace Beautiful provided several means that helped him prepare for the rest of his journey to the Celestial City (Heaven) and the many challenges and trials he would face that lay ahead in his path. 

Remember: First, he was encouraged to remember; to look back on where he had been, see how the Lord had called him, to recall the joys and sorrows of his journey thus far. He gave pause to reflect on the grace of the Lord that had brought him safe thus far, how He relieved him of his burden by His death on the cross, and how He had given him His Word and the Spirit (Interpreter) to guide him. Christian was also encouraged to give thought to the pain he felt for those he had to leave behind and his affliction from trials he encountered on the way. By looking back, he was strengthened in his trust that the Lord, who did not spare His only Son to save him, would also resolve the sorrows that remained and heal the scars left by trials. 

Rejoice: Second, he was given the opportunity to rejoice in and be strengthened by the good gifts God has given for our comfort and enjoyment: a wonderful supper of delicious food and drink paired with joyful fellowship that directed praise and glory to the Giver of it all. These foretastes of the joy to come at the wedding supper of the Lamb are meant to create longing for the good that they reflect and to turn our hearts to praise.

Reflect: Third, he and the others in the house reflected upon how the Lord worked through His servants throughout history to accomplish his purposes in a sort of Hebrews 11 reflection. This assured Christian of the Lord’s provision of the armor of God for him to stand and accomplish His purposes for him as well, and he was fitted with this armor before his departure. 

Ready Oneself: Finally, Christian was helped to look ahead, to set his eyes on the end goal of dwelling with God, beholding His glory, enjoying the Lord and His goodness forever, and thus strengthened to press on in the upward call that is his in Christ Jesus. 

Recite Truth: Many similar comforts were given to Christian’s wife, Christiana and their children in the second book of Pilgrim’s Progress upon their stay at Palace Beautiful. One addition is the catechism of the children, with Prudence asking the children to recite the things they know about what they believe and then building upon their knowledge of the Lord by further teaching them. By knowing and remembering what they believe they are: 1. better equipped to stand against lies and trials, 2. they can discern the right path that the Lord has willed for them and the manner in which they are to walk it, and 3. they can rightly know God as He has revealed Himself in His Word so they can love and worship Him properly and to a greater degree.

These things describe will our desires for all those who come to stay with us!

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