We're gearing up for another ACT Journey cohort to begin in October 2017 - May 2019.
Authentic Community in Transformation - ACT
A 2 year deeper journey
In 30 years of ministry I have never encountered a minister, worship leader, missionary or lay person who thinks that loving God is unimportant. But I have encountered many who say that ministerial leadership is a lonely and frenetic place. In one study, 70% of Christian leaders polled admitted to having no place to be their authentic self. Most are encouraged to solve this problem by doing things like memorizing more scripture, writing elaborate goals and strategic plans, and organizing and/or attending a lot of good, well intended workshops. If you have discovered that these things do not quench your deeper heart thirst for more, then you are likely ready for the reFresh Authentic Community in Transformation (ACT) Journey.
At the core of "doing" ministry is our first order calling - to "be with Jesus" (Mark 3:13ff) and to love the Lord our God... (Lk 10:27). Being a part of the ACT Journey will help you attend to this vital relationship first and foremost, from which will flow a healthy, natural, irrepressible love for self and neighbor. Jesus calls us to be with him and our spiritual authority (and longevity) in ministry (our witness) flows from that "with-ness."
In the reFresh ACT Journey you will discover, recover and deepen your devotion to Christ so as to more effectively and passionately serve God's people and minister to those in need of His touch of love. You will, in community, learn how to tend to your own soul so you can tend to the souls of others. There is no greater investment for a minister of Christ.
Because Christianity is primarily about relationship, this two year sojourn will be in a small group community. As David Benner writes, "Once we commit ourselves to journey and grow together, those people that we might never choose as friends but who we encounter in community offer us a chance to deal with the precise issues we need to confront if we are to become whole, not merely holy. And let us never forget that wholeness is one of the best measures of anything worthy of being called authentic spiritual development."
So over 18 months, with others, we will explore what it means to let the real God (not who we fear, imagine or want God to be) reveal God's real self to our real selves (not who we fear, imagine or want ourselves to be) in the midst of our longing to know and be known, love and be loved. We will identify our heart longings as well as pursue what is blocking us from growth and true transformation. Plenty of space is given for you to, primarily, be authentic before God in communion with God - but within the context of a community of others who are also seeking to open their lives to God's love and healing. We will become an Authentic Community in Transformation (over Time) first as we seek God's face, and secondarily as we help one another pay attention to what God is unfolding within us.
"I started this journey because I continually felt like I was this small body of water, refilling in the morning, but poked full of holes and being drained slowly throughout the day. I was worn out of the emptying process that seemed opposite of what I yearned for. I longed for fullness." ~ACT I participant (2010-2012)
"This was the best investment I could have ever made in myself. It was costly in time and money...but the results are priceless. I feel like I have a clearer sense of who I am. And...my husband and kids say I'm less anal and kinder. I'm just more at peace with myself and God."
~ACT III participant.
This is NOT a counseling or therapy group, not necessarily a place where we will share our stories in depth. It is not a support group - but you will find support within the group for your authentic journey. If you are unable to function because of past emotional trauma and or have repressed a lot of your emotions or are uncomfortable with deep emotion, the ACT Journey is not necessarily the best place for you. Perhaps some counseling care will help you become more comfortable with engaging with your emotional self and woundedness as a precursor to ACT. There is much that this journey will "stir up" and "unravel" and "unmask" in you and those with whom you are journeying. Often times it will feel messy and make you feel uncomfortable and question a lot of what you thought you knew about God, your self and your purpose. Authentic does not mean that you have to come to this journey perfect...but it does mean you're willing to open up to Love and Healing by facing some things, perhaps, you've either denied or avoided.
Again, as David Benner writes: "Transformation is not for the faint-hearted. But it is for those whose hearts and spirits and minds are open and ready to become even larger... We have to let go of the old and go through a stage of unknowing or confusion before we can enter the Promised Land. This is what it means to live by faith. It is to trust that we are being led to a place that we do not know on a journey that we do not control."
"I started ACT Journey with the longing for “something more” - a sense that God was calling me toward him in a new way; a way that was unfamiliar, challenging, and required change from me although I knew not how.
My desire to move forward was paired with an inability to move. I knew I couldn’t make this part of the journey alone. I needed to walk in the company of others with a similar desire. When I heard about ACTJourney it seemed like the right fit.
I believe there are moments in time here on earth when one senses they are experiencing something extraordinarily sweet. My time with the women on ACT Journey has been that for me.
~ACT I Participant
"I came into the ACT Journey rather disillusioned with my faith. But this time gifted me with the opportunity to be with others who had some of the same questions that I did regarding God and life and my purpose on this planet. I honestly felt like I was backsliding and actually losing my faith, but I discovered that God was inviting me to so much more than what I was taught. My life has been transformed."
~ACT II partipant (2011-2013)
"I honestly don't know where I'd be if this opportunity didn't come at this time in my life. I had just separated from my husband, lost a half million dollar a year business and felt completely depleted. Slowly...very slowly...in the context of grace and the spaciousness and beauty of being with other struggling souls, my heart was renewed. If you're on the fence about doing this - do it!"
~ACT IV participant
Though there is plenty of time for rest during our retreats...there is also a lot of intentional work toward pressing into God's refining and transformative love. If you merely want a restful break from life and ministry, find something that will help you enter into that sort of rest that you need. In this space, you will be invited to honestly and intentionally cooperate with God in the ways God is drawing you deeper into intimacy with the One who Delights in You. My dream is that in the midst of the journey each co-journeyer will discover, recover or uncover a fresh passion and voice for ministry and for ordinary, everyday life.
ACT is the opportunity to retreat in community with other hungry hearts 3x/year for 18 or so months...and the opportunity to process your life/heart/relationship with God with an extra pair of ears in between every retreat. The journey is meant to complement your already full life and/or ministries, not add additional work or assignments to it (unless you'd like to complete the brand new offering of a Certificate in Spiritual Leadership & Companionship - see details below).
What is offered:
- Six retreats: Three/year - 3 nights each over 2 years. Long enough for sufficient rest, regular enough to have something to look forward to. Each retreat will be a combination of silence, sleep, worship, lingering over meals and experiential discoveries of and opportunities for fostering God's transforming work in and around each of us in community. One gift of this journey is creating a regular rhythm of pulling away 3x a year (only 9 days total per year) that will help give energy and focus for the other 356 days!
- Healthy meals in a beautiful 10 acre setting - we have the entire DreamGiver's Inn B&B to ourselves. (please note, because of limited space, you will share a room during the ACT Journey. You'll have your own bed and 2 to a bathroom.)
- Spiritual direction sessions with a reFresh certified soul care companion. You may make two SD appointments between each retreat except for August (12 total). The month of your retreat you will not have a SD appointment. This time is a place to regularly check in with how you are relating to and/or resisting God.
What it costs:
The total journey including all inclusive accommodations, retreat guidance, materials and Spiritual Direction sessions in between retreats: $3800
- A non-refundable $300 secures your spot (a max of 10 people will journey together). This deposit will apply toward the overall cost of the ACT Journey.
- Pay in full package discount: 1 payment of $3200 after $300 deposit - due 6 weeks before first retreat
- Pay at each retreat - $585/retreat after $300 deposit. First payment due 4 weeks before first retreat. Second payment due 2 weeks before 4th retreat etc.
- Pay yearly - 2 payments of $1675 after $300 deposit - first payment due 4 weeks before first retreat
- Note: In order to gain the most from this 2 year journey, you are committing to both attending and paying for the entire journey including the retreats and spiritual direction times whether you opt to utilize them or not. Naturally, unforeseeable emergencies arise and grace abounds - but you will be asked to sign a pledge of your commitment.
Reimbursable expense? If you are in ministry or other helping profession, these expenses would likely be considered a tax-deductible ministry expense and/or tax write off for personal development and training. Check with your organization and/or tax advisor. We can provide you with a receipt.
NEW THIS TIME:
OPTIONAL CERTIFICATE in SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP & COMPANIONSHIP
- If you'd like to receive a Certificate of Completion in Spiritual Leadership & Companionship you will also be asked to complete the following:
- Choose 1-2 books per retreat from the suggested reading list and write (or creatively present) a short, personal reflection paper/song/art project/video/poem. (This requires you to read 6-12 Spiritual Formation and Leadership books over 2 years (or approx. 350-400pages/retreat) Authors include Brennan Manning, Henri Nouwen, David Benner, John Ortberg and many others)
- Complete your "longing statement" project (after the 2nd retreat - it's a creative way to remember your deepest passion)
- Complete your "three callings" rhythms worksheet and/or 111 plan (Our way of helping you develop Sabbath rhythms)
- Work with your SD on the Enneagram and/or MBTI and write a five page paper on what you discover and how it may impact your life and spiritual practices.
- Attend an additional Soul Companion Practicum workshop which emphasizes how to help shepherd others to discover their own inner wisdom in a safe and welcoming soulspace. (This 4 hour workshop will occur 6x - the same day as the first day of each retreat. E.g. ACT Journey starts Thursday at dinner time, you'll come for a workshop 12-4 earlier that same Thursday.)
- Additional Cost for the Certificate in Spiritual Leadership: $250/year.
- If you have more questions about the optional certificate, please email us.
To apply for the ACT Journey click here.
For more info or if you have questions, please email.
ACT V tentative dates (2017-2019)
- Nov 16-19th, 2017
- late Jan 2018
- late April/early May 2018
- late Oct 2018
- late Jan 2019
- late April 2019