This Retreat Leader Guide is in a three-lesson format to be used in training ruling elders and deacons prior to ordination/installation.
The second version of this leader guide consists of suggestions for using these materials in a three-session format training ruling elders and deacons prior to service in a retreat setting. The first session covers the introduction and three of the constitutional questions while the second includes four of the questions. The third session covers the last questions including that for ruling elders and the question for deacons. It is suggested that the officers engage in this time of learning and growing together, exploring the variety of gifts necessary for service. Consider using these as a part of a retreat including time for fellowship and relationship building. As in the monthly trainings, the sessions are designed in three parts: Review, Reflect, Respond. In the Review section, suggestions are provided for presentation of key points in the resource material. It is suggested that you study the full sections in this material prior to leading, pulling your own highlights of the topics within. In the Reflect section, suggestions are provided to engage the session or board of deacons with the material and allow them to reflect on their call, their faith, and their spiritual leadership. The Respond section offers suggestions for responding through prayer, conversation, or action.
A visual supplement for the leader guides provides images that enhance and reinforce each lesson. PowerPoint slides are referenced by number in each lesson. If you do not have the ability to project these images, you may wish to print them for participants to view.
Keep your ministry context in mind. Just as you prepare to preach by exegeting a biblical text, as you prepare to teach, exegete your context and your leaders. What is the focus of officer training? What opportunities for leadership development have been offered in the past? What are the expectations of officers in your context? What are the greatest challenges leaders face in your setting? Consider providing the sections of the material for those participating in the training for their further study.
Finally, as you prepare each lesson, take time to reflect on your own call as a spiritual leader and allow God to speak to you, to refresh your soul, and to restore your energy, creativity, imagination, and love for the people of God.