Over the last few months, I’ve been asked more than once if the Story Retreat matters. I hear things like, “My men are busy . . .” “We don’t have time to get out of town . . .”
Over the last few months, I’ve also heard from leaders that the Story Retreat was the most formative thing that happened in their groups. Their men share things like, “I’ve never told anyone this before . . .” “I thought I was the only one . . .”
Confession time. I had my current mentoring group spread their stories over our first three months of meetings . . . and I have serious regrets.
Yes, all my mentees shared their stories and heard everyone else’s story, but our group’s growth was hindered because I did not make stories a priority. John Maxwell said, “the speed of the leader is the speed of the team,” and I could not agree more.
Having a retreat specifically to share stories stresses the importance of our stories and allows the group to bond quickly. Not doing so has the opposite effect . . . no one sees or experiences the significance of the retreat.
The mentor sets the tone . . . with the homework, memory verses . . . and the Story Retreat.
The authors of The Cure describe, “a place so safe that the worst of me could be known, and I would discover that I would not be loved less, but more in the telling of it.” This is the Story Retreat defined . . . where the group forms trust and where grace shows itself in the faces of the other men.
Todd Conklin, a mentor from theChurchat in Oklahoma, describes the retreat this way . . .
“Once I created the vulnerability [by sharing my story], I was surprised by the amount of vulnerability that came back at me through my mentees and their stories – there is just a lot brokenness out there. I was shocked by some of the revelations that some of these men will tell. They felt safe because we obviously created a safe environment. There are plenty of guys looking for a community like that.”
In our Radical Mentoring process, we offer three possible agendas for the Story Retreat: a weekend, an overnight, and story day. We created these distinct options because we don’t want your group to miss out on what we think will be a divine appointment for your mentees.
Challenge: Yes, your men are busy, and you are busy. That won’t change. But trust me, make the Story Retreat a priority . . . if it matters to you, it will be important to your mentees.