A few weeks ago, I was so thrilled to find out I was one of 12 pastors selected for a year-long preaching cohort. This program is an all-expenses-paid program by our denomination (except for books). It was a total blessing from God as due to the continued church spending freeze I am unable to take any more seminary classes this year. So, here I am!! And the experience has been totally fascinating.
To confess, I didn’t start in a great state of mind. My sleep schedule looked like:
Day 1: 6 hours
Day 2: 5 hours
Day 3: 5.5 hours
Yesterday: Flew out to Phoenix, then Chicago (no sleep on the plane). Was exhausted but then awake and went to bed at 1:30 am Chicago time (11:30 pm California time). Lay in bed awake until 6 am (4 am California time). Finally dozed off for an hour and a half and then had to get up.
(All those short hours earlier in the week were due to sleep problems and insomnia.)
Anyway, I am so thankful the Lord has given me alertness. I have yet to nod off. Hopefully tonight will be better!
We are out in a retreat center in Mundelein, Illinois. It’s a Catholic seminary with a retreat center. I am so spoiled to have my own room! Nothing fancy, but very clean and it’s got free wifi! Yippee!!
The room is an L-shaped room. Here’s one side.
And then in the other leg of the L, another bed!
I lay on both beds to see which one was more comfortable. That’s because of the sleep issues, of course. Not because I was being like Goldilocks and trying out different beds or anything like that.
The little one won. It was softer.
But then, what was this?
A window! High up in the corner over the chair. Very curious. I went to see where it was looking out over. And it was…
The shower! Very high up. That was so odd. Then I realized that was because the bathroom had light so it gave that corner of the room light. You can see it to the left in the photo below. I attribute the odd layout to the fact that this place was built 1921-ish.
But it is well lit and roomy for a retreat room!
Here’s the outside. All the buildings I have seen so far look like this. You don’t see brick in California!
Here’s the room where we spent most of the day.
The experience has been totally eye-opening for me. Since I have never had any formal training in preaching, there is all sorts of stuff I am learning about that I never even thought of. I have preached a grand total of something like 12 sermons in my whole life. Many of these people are seasoned preachers. One guy said he’s been preaching for 20 years… and I’m sure there are others. I’m looking forward to learning from them. The instructor told us this program is like the equivalent of a year-long class in a Doctor of Ministry preaching program. Wow!
It’s going to be a lot of work… and then there’s a retreat in May where they give you 20 minutes to study the text and prepare a sermon and then you have to do it impromptu. That sounds interesting and fun. This whole experience sounds fun! I love God’s Word and it is so cool to learn new skills and be equipped for the calling God has given to me.
Now if I can only stay awake…