Pastors and commissioned pastors from Missouri Union and surrounding presbyteries met for a third retreat in Kansas City. The theme of the retreat was Re-Gathering after a Pandemic. Kili Wenburg taught the spiritual practices of lectio divina and embodiment prayer, and offered spiritual direction. Drew Benson led workshops on a variety of issues related to re-gathering. And, Becky Balestri was the worship leader.
Although the pastors had been together five months earlier, they were just as eager to be in person at another retreat. As one person noted on her retreat evaluation, “This was just what I needed! I feel so blessed and grateful to have been a part of this retreat!”
Drew Benson is a psychologist with LeaderWise. He is a skilled workshop leader, able to both move in the direction that the group is going, as well as pulling the group back to the task at hand. The most valuable session was on discerning our values. Drew led the group through a process that narrowed the focus of what we truly valued. During the process, participants were asked to share their values and stories. Meaningful, deep stories were shared, frequently eliciting tears. It was an opportunity for the participants to know each other on a more intimate level. (This process can be found at https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/theory-knowledge/201802/personal-value-exploration-experiential-activity)
During two of the evenings, pastors gathered to play a game called Who Said True?, a game that promotes storytelling and discovering who your friends are. One night it was eight pastors; the next night, 14 pastors sat around a table sharing stories and laughing. The pastors learned even more about each other. One pastor opened with, “I’ve never told this story…” As the game is a “what’s said here, stays here” kind of game, we can’t tell you what happened. Suffice it to say, it was a compelling story. (You can find this game at https://www.whosaidtrue.com/)
Based on the evaluations shared after the retreat, most pastors left feeling better than they had when they arrived. Several pastors arrived feeling “normal” and left feeling excited. (Yes, normal is in quotes as normal is different for everyone.) One person arrived feeling closer to stressed and left feeling rejuvenated. This is the purpose of PLR Retreats – to revitalize and rejuvenate pastors.