I’ve just been reading the reports from my students in MIN 509 Spiritual Formation & Discipleship. One of their assignments is to conduct a 4-hour Personal Soul Care Retreat. Here is the full assignment:
As ministry leaders, many of us find it easier to take care of others rather than ourselves. The thought of taking consistent rhythmic times to pull away for ourselves is often met with self-imposed guilt. With this being said, each student will need to carve out time for a four-hour (minimum) personal spiritual retreat. This four-hour time will be given to practicing spiritual disciplines. Each student will choose four spiritual disciplines from the text, Spiritual Disciplines Handbook, by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun.
During youreach of the four disciplines chosen should be practiced. The following may serve as a guide for practicing the disciplines:
- Find a quiet place where interruptions will be at a minimum.
- Take time to quiet yourself, and ask God to meet you within your time.
- Read or study the discipline you are about to practice.
- Pause and be reflective on what you have studied prior to entering into practice.
- Take time to practice the specific discipline of choice. Remember, there is no specific time frame.
- When the time is right, bring the practice to an end. Take time to be present. Don’t rush into the next practice. Be attentive to your soul and possibly the themes that may be arising during that moment.
Once the retreat is completed you will write a two to three-page paper evaluating your. The evaluation should include the four practices chosen, what went well, struggles or road blocks, and insights gained during your time.
It is so encouraging to read students’ reports. For many, this is a transformational exercise. They learn about themselves, they deepen their relationship with God, and they commit to ongoing practice and even a re-ordering of their lives around greater soul care. One student even sent me a photo of his view during his retreat! It is such a privilege to walk with and encourage students on their spiritual journey.