Yesterday, I flew out to Kansas City to help facilitate a retreat for pastors. It was my first trip to Kansas City.
The trip was one of the most uneventful trips I have ever had! The only mishap was that as I deplaned on my connecting flight, I realized I had forgotten to print out the boarding pass for the second part of my trip. Fortunately I knew my destination and was able to quickly find the gate on the “Departing” board. Turns out the gate was right next to the one I had just gotten off of.
It also helped that Dan, the director of the program, picked me up and so I did not have to have a scary evening wandering the dark and lonely grounds of a retreat center with no signage. Much improved, I must say!
Unfortunately I didn’t sleep so well, but it was enough to get me through the day, and drinking tea did the rest of the job. When I woke up, the sun was just rising. This is the view outside my window.
The grounds are very nice. There is a cute little gazebo outside, and benches where one can reflect and pray.
I’m not sure what style building these are, but the left one is where our meeting room was and the right one was the dining hall.
The program is called “Sustaining Pastoral Excellence,” and it is a one-year leadership program for Evangelical Covenant pastors (our church’s denomination). I went through this program a few years ago and it has been one of the best leadership development experiences I have had in ministry so far! This year I was asked to be on the facilitation/leadership team and so this is our first event together.
People came from all over the U.S. and even from another country!
Many people were exhausted from traveling all day or preaching in the morning and then flying/driving in. So it was really nice in the morning that there was some time to reflect and go through some exercises to listen to God better. The quiet time spent listening to God and journaling was one of the highlights of the day.
The day blazed by. We learned about the Enneagram, a personality test that looks beyond just behavior to motives. It sure pegged me. I am Type #3: The Achiever. No surprise. Efficiency, systems, get-it-done. That’s me!
The person next to me had an Enneagram and I was reading up to it and it almost made me laugh on how accurate it was. It said how #3s work really hard and rarely stop to pause and figure out how they are doing until it is too late. They like to produce, produce, produce, and find a lot of fulfillment and satisfaction in it. It said typically they only come to halt when something big gets their attention, like a medical condition. Yup, that’s me all right.
It was great fun to hear about other people’s results and discuss implications for our leadership and how it impacts our congregation.
We also went through other things and then it was time to go out to dinner! We went out to Something Arthur Something BBQ. (Sigh… names are not my forte. Thank goodness everyone had nametags!) It was supposed to be one of the best BBQ places in the area.
I’m not really a big BBQ fan, but I thought it was yummy and even had 2 ribs. No, this is not my dinner. It was served family style — pork, beef, and turkey all on one plate.
As I sat there eating with my fork and knife, a person across the table said, “I must confess this is the first time I have ever seen anyone eat ribs with only a fork and knife.” I had to explain that because my hands have eczema, I avoid getting them dirty and having to wash them. I even cut meat with a fork and knife when I cook! Hmmm… I’m being a bit open about my idiosyncrasies here…
Afterwards a group of us walked over to the mall and walked around. Some people got frozen custard but I was way too full. It was fun talking to people and getting to know them.