Authentic Community in Transformation - ACT
A 2 year deeper journey
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 two years, with others, we will explore what it means to let the real God (not who we fear, imagine or want Him to be) reveal His 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 Him - 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 His face, and secondarily as we help one another pay attention to what He is unfolding within us.
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 His 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."
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 He is drawing you deeper into intimacy with Himself. 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.
ACT is the opportunity to retreat in community with other hungry hearts 3x/year for 2 years...and the opportunity to process your life/heart/relationship with God with an extra pair of ears (mine or another approved Soul Care Companion) every month (except August) we are not retreating. The journey is meant to complement your already full life and ministries, not add additional work or assignments to it.
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!
- A monthly spiritual direction time with a certified soul care companion every month except the months we are retreating and August. This time is a place to regularly check in with how you are relating to and/or resisting God.
What it costs:
- Six - 3 night retreats (food, lodging, spiritual facilitation, materials etc) Approx $410 per retreat.
- 17 sessions of Spiritual Direction = approx $60 for 60 minutes.
What you pay:
- A non-refundable $250 secures your spot (a max of 9 people will journey together). This deposit will apply toward the overall cost of the ACT Journey.
- Pay in full package discount: 1 payment of $2800 (15% off) after $250 deposit - due 6 weeks before first retreat
- Pay yearly - 2 payments of $1500 (about 10% off) after $250 deposit - first payment due 4 weeks before first retreat. Second payment due 4 weeks before 4th retreat.
- Pay at each retreat - 6 payments of $550 after $250 deposit - first payment due 2 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.
Fund raising: Any reFresh participant may have the opportunity to raise donations to do the ACT Journey much like you would raise funds for a missions trip. Contact me for more info. Also, if you are in ministry, 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.
To apply for the ACT Journey click here.
For more info or if you have questions, please email.
ACT III (2012-2014) retreat dates
- #1 Sept 30-Oct 3, 2012
- #2 Jan 31-Feb 3, 2013
- #3 June 9-12, 2103
- #4 Sept 29-Oct 2, 2013
- #5 Feb 6-9, 2014
- #6 June 8-11th , 2014
ACT IV (2013-2015)
- #1 November 14-17th, 2013
- #2 March 6-9, 2014
- #3 July 20-23, 2014
- #4 Nov 6-9, 2014
- #5 March 5-8, 2015
- #6 July 12-15, 2015