I spent the weekend in east central Ohio with about 40 or so other pastors at a little something called the Missional Leadership Initiative. It was put together by our denomination (cggc), under the direction of Reggie McNeal (author of a bunch of great books). It will consist of six three-day retreats over a two year period, as well as monthly cohort meetings with a peer group, and various homework and reading throughout. The focus of the initiative is to help our pastors in their spiritual formation and leadership development in hopes that it will help our churches and the kingdom as a whole.
I will probably blog more about it later, but to be honest, I'm still processing a lot of it. This was not a conference or seminar... and this first retreat dealt largely with our own "self-awareness." So there wasn't a lot of fun and games (other than Jane and I playing ping pong and Ms. PacMan in the game room). While I wouldn't describe it as a "good time," I will say that it was a very valuable experience, and I enjoyed it a great deal (even though some of it was quite painful internally). I am looking forward to seeing how things develop over the next couple of years.
Logistically, it took us about 4 hours and 15 minutes to get to the Salt Fork State Park Lodge. Of course the last 15 minutes were meandering the 7 miles from the park entrance to the lodge (at 35 mph). It is a beautiful place; with deer everywhere - right around the lodge even. It was funny too, because when we checked in they thanked me for mentioning them on my blog. Ha! That was a nice touch to note that. :)
The weekend consisted of: arriving Friday for a 6:30 pm supper upstairs, then an introduction to the process with Reggie until 9 pm. Then we hung out and chatted with some friends. On Saturday we had breakfast together at 8:30 am, then a devotion at 9:30 from Reggie, then we started going over the Success Style Profile that we filled out before the weekend. We had lunch from 1 to 2, then more meeting until we got assigned to our cohort group at 3:45 pm. We met in groups for awhile, then those of us with spouses were free for a "date night" the rest of the night. Sunday started with group breakfast at 8:30 am, a worship time at 9:30, debriefing, and meeting with our cohort group until noon, at which time we had a final lunch together and started for home.
My Success Style Profile shows that my cognitive style of processing things is: conception, logic, and internal (CLI), but I have a low flex score, so it means I'm fairly versatile. According to my "Cognitive Mode Profile" this lends itself to: "Studying concepts and theories, forming hypothesis, analyzing and solving problems, making logical judgments, and planning the future." I haven't really looked through the whole thing, so maybe I'll post more on this later.
Perhaps the thing I was most worried about was the cohort group. I was actually hoping that since Tom, Steve, and I - who already meet together each week - were all three involved, then maybe we could be our own cohort. But not so. I am in a group with people from Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. So meeting personally may be a challenge. However I do actually like all the people in my group (other than one person I don't know, who wasn't there), and I am glad I got the cohort leader that I did. I don't know who the other ones are, but I think mine will work out well.
The book we read for this retreat was Reggie's, Practicing Greatness: 7 Disciplines of Extraordinary Spiritual Leaders. For the next time we're supposed to read, Missional Renaissance, which I have already read (yes!).
Below is a picture I took of Reggie, with Bill & Evelyn. Bill was one of my seminary professors, who now leads a church community in Pennsylvania. He also writes quite a bit on this blog. This was before the worship time on Sunday morning (which I loved, btw). It consisted of six stations where you could either: read Scripture and light a prayer candle; take communion; draw, write or make something artistic; pray with others; meditate and take a stone either as a memory piece or to toss; and Reggie was in the corner if anyone wanted him to pray for them. Btw, Reggie is a great guy too. I really "get" his humor, and he keeps me engaged well. He ate lunch with us on Saturday, and he's the same up front as he is off to the side. I can't think of a better person to do this.
All in all, a very worthwhile time. I am really glad I signed up for this.