My retreats and conferences are adaptable for a wide variety of ecclesial or non-ecclesial contexts. I work with you to assess your needs in order to design an experience best suited for your context and audience. Here is a sampling of what I offer:
*New Retreat! The Seven Paths to Transformation
Based on new material for my next book, I explore seven unique paths or stages of growth and transformation toward union with Christ. Inspired by St. Teresa’s “seven dwellings” in her Interior Castle, I integrate the wisdom of Scripture, developmental psychology, spiral dynamics, and more to imagine the places of challenge, growth and grace for a transformative journey. This unique “inner pilgrimage” was first inspired by St. Augustine who wrote:
Why do you go away from your selves and perish from yourselves? Why do you go the ways of isolation? You go astray by wondering about… You are wandering without, an exile from yourself. Return to your heart! See you there what perhaps you perceive about God because the image of God is there. In the inner being Christ dwells; in the inner being you are renewed according to the image of God.
This unique offering can be designed as a standard conference and it can be adapted as a contemplative retreat.
Wholeheartedness: Experiencing Oneness and Worthiness in Jesus
Based off of my book Wholeheartedness: Busyness, Exhaustion and Healing the Divided Heart, we explore our lives of fragmentation, exhaustion, and never feeling quite enough. This very human experience is not new – its roots are ancient. But we need not live any longer feeling pulled in a thousand different directions, playing our futile worthiness games to satisfy unattainable expectations. Wholeheartedness is not a goal – it’s a present reality that we surrender into. Together, we explore what this journey looks like.
Toughest People to Love: Becoming Courageous Lovers of Ourselves and Others
We all experience difficult people in our lives. More significantly, we experience our own pain and brokenness! Relationship is difficult, particularly in a world filled with people formed with unique stories and wounds. The self-help industry has provided recipes for fixing ourselves and others, but deeply biblical, historical and psychological framework reveals that we are far more complex than we realize…and not easily fixed, like machines. In this conference/retreat, we explore our unique image-bearing identity, what makes us human, what gets us stuck, and how we get unstuck. We explore the dynamics of disorder, addiction, wisdom, and self-knowledge. And in so doing, we gain a vision for courageous love for ourselves and everyone else, even the toughest people to love.
The Enneagram: Nine Obstacles to Union with Christ, Nine Invitations to Freedom
Having studied the Enneagram since the early 2000’s, I am grateful to see the growing interest among all stripes of Christians in this tool for self-awareness and transformation. The Enneagram’s roots are ancient, and its imagination is deeply Christian. It reveals our basic obstacles toward union by illuminating unique ways in which we get our needs met other than from God. Pulled toward power, security, or affection, we often find ourselves stuck in self-sabotaging patterns that rob us of joy and disrupt relationships. In this retreat, we explore the nine habits of the Enneagram, and imagine new ways of living and loving toward health and wholeness.
Dying to Be Loved: Embracing the Transformational Journey of Marriage
Every good marriage experiences many deaths. While the young couple in premarital counseling might proclaim proudly that they’ve never fought, veteran couples will reveal to you their battle scars borne through conflict and disappointment, woundedness and reconciliation. We cannot avoid the inevitable struggles of marriage, but we can learn to identify them, embrace them, and be transformed by them. In this retreat/conference, we explore the difficult dance of lovers, the ways that we stumble, and the pathways toward deep love and attachment. Employing the ancient Trinitarian wisdom of Scripture and the invaluable insights of psychology, we weave together a picture of participation in a divine dance with the One who made us to thrive together.
The Three Movements of Faith: A Retreat Through Luke 15
The story of the runaway son whose journey home to the Father brings drama and delight may be one of the most beloved in Scripture. It reveals insights about how we cope and relate, how we self-sabotage and secure happiness, and how our deepest original dignity is ultimately revealed. We trace three movements of faith we all experience in unique ways: fragmentation to security, fear to freedom, and from fixing to (courageous and self-giving!) loving. I’ve also done this as a men’s retreat and a women’s retreat.
Finding God in the Wilderness
Based off the insights from my first book Leaving Egypt: Finding God in the Wilderness Places, this retreat invites participants on a journey from their own unique and personal “Egypt’s” through the wilderness of life’s winding and rocky road into the promised freedom of union with God. We explore four signposts along the way: Egypt, Sinai, Wilderness, and Union. Each awakens us to new depths of how we’ve been hurt and how we’ve hurt others. Each invites us to examine where we are on our own journeys, and what might keep us ‘stuck’ in a particular rut. We discover that our stories are ultimately revealed in the beautiful, honest, and gritty Story of God.
The Spiritual Life of the Leader (a retreat uniquely designed for all kinds of leaders, but offered on occasion to specific leaders like church planters)
This leader’s retreat is designed to address the core spiritual and emotional needs of leaders, the common obstacles for leaders, and pathways to health and wholeness. I share many personal stories and adopt many of the key concepts in a course I teach called Pastor as Person, along with my own experience founding two counseling centers and co-founding Newbigin House of Studies, SF.