Thursday, May 06, 2010

MLI retreat #2 - overall thoughts

Now that the second retreat for the Missional Leadership Initiative is over - and since I didn't do very good at keeping a running account on my blog - I will try to recount the events of days 2 and 3.

I woke up Tuesday and, after running 4 miles on the road Monday morning, I decided the pavement and hills were just a bit much for me. I took a walk around the parking lot, then decided to swim some laps in the pool. It didn't open until 7 am, but I didn't think anyone would mind if I dove in at 6:30. It actually felt pretty good; however, you use a way different muscle set for swimming than running.

Breakfast was at 8 am with the whole group, then our meetings began at 9 am. Reggie McNeal is a master at cynical slapstick, while at the same time speaking the truth in a way that makes perfect sense. In other words - he speaks my language. I enjoy listening to him, and didn't even mind when he made fun of me in the hallway. After a busy morning session, and a group lunch, we broke into small groups in the afternoon to work on a scorecarding project. This was a group different than our cohorts. That lasted until 3, then we were free until supper at 6:30 pm. One interesting thing during this group project was the swarm of bees that swung by us though. We were sitting by the outdoor pool, and this huge bunch of honey bees flew over us, then they all headed for a tree right outside our room and formed a big mound in the tree. A guy came and sprayed them away the next morning.

The afternoon break was quite the adventure. Tom and Steve asked Jim and I if we wanted to hike a trail with them. Tom had a map, but it ended up being useless. Anyway, we cut into the trees and followed a path down towards the lake on the southwest side (behind the golf course). I think we all thought it would wind towards the lake and come out on the road on the other side of the course. We were sadly mistaken. There wasn't a lot of mud, and only a couple spots where we had to jump across water and climb through trees, but we walked and walked and walked and walked. Finally we did come out to a road, but it was nowhere any of us had ever seen. We thought if we walked down a little ways maybe it would take us back to the main road, but fortunately a car happened along, so we asked directions (pretty good for four guys). The couple in the car laughed and said if we were walking the road back to the lodge it was going to be a long trip (about 5 miles). The quickest way was to return on the trail we just got off of - which was only 2 miles back. So we headed back into the wild and walked back the way we came. Steve found a tick on his leg. Later, once we got off the trail out the other end, I pulled my shirt up to see if I had any ticks, and I had A BUNCH OF THEM on me. The inside of my shirt probably had half a dozen or so. I found a couple more when we got back to the room, and even more when I unpacked my bag at home! So I took a shower, and then it was just about supper time.

After supper we had a cohort de-briefing (I understand now that this DOES NOT mean that we take our underwear off), and then we adjourned for the evening about 9 pm.

After we let out I hung around with my friend Eddie (who is also now in my cohort. We had two additional people this time). We went for a walk with a couple other guys, and we ended up at the golf course clubhouse. Some other people wound there way up there later. It was a nice time just looking at the stars in the dark of night. We eventually headed back to the lodge, hung out some more, I called Jane, played a couple more pinball games, talked with Nate (who was playing his guitar) for awhile, then headed to the room about midnight.

I think I have already mentioned that Jim Wilder was my roommate. We got along nicely - as I think we are kinda similar almost-ocd-ish types. I was glad I didn't have to room with a slob, and just hoped I didn't snore too much.

Wednesday morning I just took a short walk again. My shins had started hurting from running on the road, I think. We had breakfast again at 8, and sessions started at 9. Reggie was late - apparently he and his wife are moving, and the movers lost the pod that all their stuff was stored in - and when he got there he started off by giving me a hard time for putting on facebook that he had fried my brain. I'm pretty sure he was just joking. Anyway, we had a sort of overall debrief, then a personal exercise, then a cohort debrief, lunch at noon, and we were free to leave.

Steve, Tom and I left at 12:40 and got home a little before 5 pm, so that was a little quicker than it was getting there. We didn't stop and eat, but just stopped once to get gas and once for a potty break.

Overall I think this retreat included more small group time - which was kind of nice. We were supposed to start breaking things down more for practical application in our churches. Things seem to be working towards pinpointing a few things for us to share with our cohorts that they can then help keep us accountable and offer some guidance.

I was a little worried about how it would go since our cohort was increasing in size from 4 to 6. We were the only group to add people. I actually think it will be good. One guy is younger, and is not a pastor. I think that will be good for us - give us a different perspective. The other guy is older, but he has lots of energy and enthusiasm. We even set our dates for times to meet before the next retreat. We are actually going to meet face-to-face once a month. That's something we didn't do at all before, as all our meetings were over the phone. One meeting is in Illinois, one is in Ohio, and one is in Indiana. Should be innaresting.

I still have mixed feelings about Jane not being included. I really don't like going to these things by myself. I especially don't like doing ministry stuff without her - because I consider us more of a team than me as the pastor and her just my wife. But I realize we are perhaps not the norm. I suppose it was also good for me to do something on my own. I doubt that I would have hung out with others as much as I did if she were along. I still wish she could have been there though.

I have 4 pages of notes and thoughts, which I will hopefully put up eventually. I suppose I've forgotten some details too. At any rate, it was a good time. The staff there were super. The ladies who served our food were fantastic. The food was great too, I thought. I don't really have any complaints, which I know is hard to believe, but it's true. I did get a bit of a sore throat though. That may or may not have had anything to do with the retreat though.

Well, I guess that's all for now. Peace out; and in.