On an evening in early spring we came together as strangers – a group of fifteen women. Apart from some familiar faces we didn’t know each other. Yet we had come together – each of us having made a decision to trust that the meaningfulness of the twenty-six hour time commitment would be revealed as the weekend experience unfolded, but for the moment we were simply present.
We gained courage with each phase of the weekend as the presenters shared their faith journey. Inspired by their sharing we were drawn together as we shared our own stories in small groups. Prayer, tears and laughter drew us even closer. Sleep? Not too much; it wasn’t evident! But we were no longer strangers. We were now members of a sisterhood sharing an indescribable bond – one that seemed to just appear as the weekend evolved. And then it was over – with some participants choosing to end their quest at this point though admittedly “enriched and renewed” by their experience.
Twelve of us, however, decided to continue the journey. And we gathered once again to prepare to pass on what we had received to those who will experience a subsequent weekend.
Leaders patiently answered our many questions. “This is a process,” we were told, “not a popularity contest. You will discern and choose those among you who will be the presenters and leaders of the next weekend experience.”
I was not alone in my curiosity. “Who would emerge as presenters? Who would lead?”
The comfort zone of each of us was to be challenged as the events transpired.
“Are you a presenter, a leader – where do you see yourself?” the facilitator inquired as a large board was wheeled out and placed before us. A pie-shaped graphic labeled with the various areas of responsibility was painted on the board.
“Place your name in the area you would like to fill,” she said. Surveying our responses the facilitator called to our attention that no one had placed their name in the two leadership roles. “This is usually what occurs,” she reassured us.
Next we were directed to place the names of our sisters whom we believed could fill each service requirement. One by one, name by name and responsibility by responsibility the facilitator questioned us. She listened, answered more detailed questions and provided feedback.
This progression continued for several hours screening willingness or unwillingness until a designee was announced.
A scaled-down method continued in order to discern and select the two key leadership roles. “Are you willing to make the time commitment? Do you have the necessary skills and experience?” The facilitators questioned each candidate and solicited group feedback until our new leader was brought forth.
A sense of wonderment - an almost child-like joy became evident. The process – truly our witness to the presence of the Holy Spirit enabled us to overcome negativity and empowered us to grow beyond limits we had previously set for ourselves.
With God’s help we continue to journey with others as “Seekers” in His kingdom.
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