Michael Thompson is on a mission to help others build better lives by strengthening their relationships with God.
Thompson is the founder of Zoweh Ministries in Durham and the architect of its outreach. With a background in campus ministry and a master’s degree in counseling, Thompson has become a teacher, mentor and author for those on a faith journey.
Zoweh is the phonetic spelling of a Greek word in the Bible for “life.”
“By definition it was a quality of life, it was a deep life, it meant a life with God,” Thompson said. “It meant connected to God and from God. It impressed my heart. I loved that.”
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To help others make that connection, Zoweh Ministries offers different settings for faith exploration from weekend getaways to sporting competitions.
“We love to create environments where people can connect with God and each other. Almost always it means there are things in the way. Broken things, damaged things, relationship things and stuff that has happened to us along the way that can be in the way of intimacy, of friendship and love – receiving as well as offering it,” Thompson said. “We create environments where it is safe to explore and walk with God and go after some of those things and see God remedy those things and heal those things.”
One of Zoweh’s hallmarks is its ministry for men known as “The Heart of a Warrior.” These retreats are designed to allow participants to step back from stress and closely examine the role God plays in their lives.
“There is something about helping a man unplug and get away,” Thompson said. “It’s hard to do. There’s a reason why they call it the grind. And to see a guy take a couple of steps away from that and almost detox or get in some space where the to-do list doesn’t dominate in their world is the first major hurdle.”
Steve Brady has attended more than a half-dozen different Zoweh weekend retreats.
“There is skeet shooting and fly fishing and Frisbee golf,” Brady said. “There are all kinds of neat things wrapped in a spiritual wrapper.”
And Thompson incorporates movie clips that open up discussion to spiritual matters.
“You may not remember the sermon last week or two weeks ago, but people remember films,” Thompson said. “It has some kind of way of bypassing the academic and moving to the heart.”
Brady is certain that attending Zoweh weekends made a profound difference in the life of one of his sons who accepted Jesus Christ as his personal savior before passing away a year and a half ago.
“I know that if it hadn’t been for Zoweh he wouldn’t have ever had that spiritual connection,” Brady said.
The Zoweh calendar includes upcoming retreats for men, women and couples. Information about events and books written by Thompson can be found on the ministry’s website at zoweh.org.
“There are always new discoveries with God and relationships,” Thompson said.
Wake Forest Baptist Church will host a special night of classical music.
Paul Chandley and Sophia Pavelenko Chandley will perform as dual concert pianists at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 17.
Sophia Pavelenko Chandley is considered a prodigy with more than 300 musical compositions to her credit, including two piano concertos. A native of Ukraine, she has performed and studied around the world and is now on the faculty of Trinity Music Academy in Troy, N.C. She is also Trinity’s permanent composer-in-residence.
Paul Chandley received his undergraduate degree at the University of North Carolina and master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Missouri – Kansas City Conservatory of Music. He has performed at the Metropolitan Opera House and on Broadway, has taught around the world and has been a guest conductor of the Raleigh Symphony Orchestra. He is the executive director of the Trinity Music Academy.
The concert will be in the sanctuary of the church, located at 107 E. South Ave., Wake Forest.
Tickets for the concert are $12 for general admission, $10 for senior citizens and $5 for students. They are available at the door or in advance online at chandley.brownpapertickets.com.
The monthly SHiNE worship service at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church will be from 12:30 to 1 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 19.
The service welcomes people of all abilities and their families.
The church is located at 7000 Creedmoor Road, Raleigh.
Carla Turchetti compiles Faith in Focus each week. Email her with details of upcoming events at email@example.com.