The Background Story
Hello, I’m David & I’m a Ragamuffin. As I begin to do an entry here to describe to you what “Ragamuffin Retreats” will be and what our hopes are for this experience, I can’t help but to be overwhelmed with gratitude. So let me begin with thankfulness. Because out of our gratitude comes another stepping out on faith called, “Ragamuffin Retreats.” The past four years of my life have been a roller coaster mixed with both adventure and God’s love. The honor to have been able to make a movie about my one of my hero’s in the faith Rich Mullins, and to be in the process of making a movie about another hero, Brennan Manning is a sheer delight. To put it simply it’s been a blast. Recently I was being interviewed for an article someone was doing on the movie “Ragamuffin” and they said in one sentence describe what your favorite part of making the movie was. And I said, “My friendship with Dave Mullins.” Dave has gone from stranger, to friend, to a person that I admittedly look up to and admire. Dave Mullins is the real deal. He loves Jesus, is steadfast in his faith, and has an almost laser pointed wisdom- that goes un-parralled to anyone I’ve ever met before. Simply put, I think one of the reasons God allowed me to make the movie, was to allow me to learn from a guy like Dave. Making the movie was an incredible adventure, and our dream has come true—not because a movie was made, but because we never wanted it to just “be a movie” but a vehicle for the message of God’s grace and love to shine through.
And my friends, if you happen to be reading this, I wish you could see the delight in my face–it’s happening. We are astounded. Story after story has been tumbling in hearing of people saved, lives transformed, relationships with family members mended, and brokenness healed. It’s all Jesus. Not us. But we are thankful to get a front row seat to the stories.
When I was growing up my home life wasn’t great, matter of fact it wasn’t even good. But God doesn’t promise us good, or great, he gives us HIM, and he is the good, and the great, no matter how bad things get. Well, when I was growing up things were bad. Home wasn’t a place of grace & love, but of fear and pain. There was still beauty and glimmers of hope in the midst of growing up, my cousins, my grandma, ice cream, & camp.
There was something so special about camp. Jesus saved me when I was seven years old at camp. My parents weren’t Christian, so camp became this place where I could actually learn about God, and was also a safe harbor for me. It’s super cheesy and nerdy, that I am about to reveal this, but I used to be so excited about camp that I would pack literally after Christmas every year. I’d lay out my little suitcase, and start making my list. Nerdy I know, but all these years later I get why I was so excited. I never knew what a Christian Community was or could be in my home, and to actually have people communicate the gospel of Jesus in a tangible way was unheard of for me growing up.
I remember one year in particular. I was 13. I remember making a decision to give Jesus my life. I was on such a church camp high. (side note: remember rich mullins rant on camps…”keep doing it. Keep going back and making those decisions…every year…because by the time your my age you’ll realize you need to do it multiple times per day”- Rich Mullins)…The day that camp ended I remember my cousin picked me up, and in her car a tape was playing (remember tapes)…and it was a song called “The Color Green”…and I said, “Who’s this?” and she said “Rich Mullins”. My cousin and I joked about doing a Christian Drama Team, called The Color Green. The joke stuck. I did this through jr. high, high school, and college. Eventually this turned into me doing some variation of comedy & speaking.
In college I was given a copy of “The Ragamuffin Gospel” By Brennan Manning (actually given a copy from Mike Koch –who played Rich Mullins in the movie), and it changed my world upside down. At that time in my life, the religious circles I was in, and was used to –It wasn’t popular to be authentic about your sin & struggles, and if you were- you were treated with judgment, legalism, and hate. As I’ve learned grace is a mixture of both compassion & truth. But I wasn’t getting really either, just hate. The music & life of Rich Mullins & books of Brennan Manning taught be not to hide my sin, take off the mask, and let God’s love in, and not to use God’s love as a license to sin, but to respond to his love with surrender.
This was a game-changer for me.
A New Way
Throughout all of my years of doing the ministry “The Color Green” I would often wonder if there could ever be a type of camp or retreat where people wouldn’t be afraid to be themselves, to be honest about their sin, brokenness, shame, that they too are merely ” a beggar at the door of God’s mercy.” We saw so many lives transformed and effected by the message of God’s love, and we never failed to hear of stories of fellow ragamuffins who were hiding in the shadows because they thought their sin was to great, and they could never take off their mask for fear that nobody would love them. That’s what always struck me as special about a camp or a retreat. There’s something great, about just “getting away” that provides the space for God to work. Not that God can’t work anywhere, but doing by doing a retreat, we are the ones who are making time to listen to God, to hear what he has to say. There’s an openness that often happens when people get away that they don’t find in their normal routine of life. Even within a church group that would come to these. They experience such life change at these, even though its still within a group that they see day in and day out. A retreat is good both for the individual and the group.
In 2005 I founded Color Green Films, and Jan 9th, 2014 we premiered “Ragamuffin” at the Orpheum Theater in Wichita, Kansas to a sold out crowd of 1,300 people. We didn’t know if anyone would show up. At first thought we would do one screening. Well, one turned into two, and two turned into ten, and eventually we grew to 204 screenings between Jan & May.
The best part of this year has hands down been Jesus changing lives. We’ve seen people saved at Jail Screenings, received countless emails and messages about being delivered from Religion to an authentic relationship with Jesus, and heard amazing stories of reconciliation, to simple notes saying “I’ve experienced the Love of God for the first time.”
The movie, for many, has begun a conversation about “The Love of God.” We just want to continue the conversation via “Ragamuffin Retreats.” Much like we went out on faith to have screenings for the movie, we want to do the same with the retreats. We want to offer the opportunity to provide a retreat experience to grow in their faith, & be inspired to live in reckless abandonment in response to God’s love in the ways he’s created you to be.
Some Things To Expect at Ragamuffin Retreats
We will have teaching & speaking on the love of God, a life lived in response to the love of God in reckless abandonment, and touching on various themes of the movie. I will be joining some cool speakers and teachers in this. (I am beyond excited. Speakers/Teachers to be announced at a later date).
We will have a new artist Matt Liechty as one of our folks leading worship along with Mitch Mcvicker (who both will be & is on the Album being released in july, along with Jars of Clay, Derek Webb, Andrew Peterson & others…)
But we at Color Green Films are very passionate about the arts and the impact they have had on us and can have on others. They are a great tool. We will be offering different tracks through the weekend where we will offer potential workshops, like filmmaking, acting, music & art. Jesus was a storyteller. We are too, because we all have a story.
But this retreat isn’t only for artists, it’s also for those that want to just dive in, and “retreat” away to grow in their faith. Fellow Ragamuffins will remember that Brennan Manning would often lead “silent retreats” and do more intensive spiritual retreats. We will also offer this track as well.
But for those ragamuffins that truly are in a season of being “burnt out and bedraggled” we will offer a “rest track” for you. Some come, listen, learn, play, & rest.
We don’t want this to be a come & listen event…but to come & experience event. Learning more about the love of God, and living our lives in response to God’s great love, but also being inspired by each other in a unique ragamuffin experience.
We also have several other things we are working on like hearing and experiencing each others stories, and encouraging others to do the same. We are visual storytellers and passionate about wanting others to come to know Jesus and inspire others to live a life of response to God’s great love.
Yes, we are working on having some cool speakers & artists at these retreats, but we hope that you come not to be a fan, but because you want a chance to get away, to learn and grow in your faith, to experience something different, unique, and be inspired by other ragamuffins who are also learning to let the awesome wonderful love of God wreak havoc in their lives.
So no matter who you are, where you are from, where you are at we want you to come, come and hear about the love of God in a unique experience called “Ragamuffin Retreats.” Ragamuffins welcome.
You will get an opportunity to hear about the making of “Ragamuffin” from the filmmakers, and get to hear about their next movies in development “Brennan” (about the life of Brennan Manning) and “Room of Marvels” (based on James Bryan Smith’s book).
While, yes we want all ragamuffins to come, and we know that includes this wonderful culture of people who’s lives have been effected greatly by the ministry of both Rich Mullins & Brennan Manning. While we recognize that our lives, work, and ministry have also been greatly effected by Rich & Brennan. This won’t be a retreat set up to worship or lift these men up, but to be about …what they were about …which was Jesus & God’s love.
Also while we recognize, and open our arms open wide to those that don’t normally feel comfortable to walk into the doors of a church, we aren’t trying to be a ministry to replace the local church. Rich Mullins once said, “The church is not a man made invention, it’s a God made invention.” Matter of fact we will and want to encourage anyone and everyone to get plugged into a bible believing, Jesus loving church. On the flip side, people are at where they are at, and want them to feel welcome to come “as they are, not as they should be” and hear the good news of Jesus, and experience His love, grace, & compassion.
Other pertinent info:
There will be limited space available. So if you want in on this please sign up soon. Our subscribers atwill get advanced notice when & where to buy tickets.
If you are a church group, or group of any kind we will be offering a discounted price. Please Email retreats@for info or questions. Although info should be available when tickets go on sale.
We will be announcing speakers, artists, & musicians at a later date (after tickets go on sale).
There will be three cities we do this in over the course of the fall. (One in sept. One in oct. & one in Nov.)
If you think you are coming and want to help us spread the word, get your church involved, write us at: retreats@and we will let you know how you can help.
**We will have a video promo in the next few weeks that you can help pass around to get the word out
In other words:
All this to say. Our lives have been greatly impacted by the Love of God, and we have a huge heart for ragamuffins (beggars at the door of God’s mercy) and we want to create a unique experience, a safe place, to retreat away to learn more about Jesus, about God’s love, and be inspired that with the reality that we all have a story, and that God is at work within our story. We all have a story to tell. A ravenous love story. Because as Brennan Manning has said “God loves you as you are, not as you should be, because none of us are as we should be”
David Leo Schultz
Speaker, Storyteller & Director of “Ragamuffin”