By Jo Panter
Director, Apprentice Traverse City
I recently read an article on how to evaluate return on investment (ROI) as a measure of profitability from meetings. Things like time spent, facility costs, quality of agenda, information presented, and quality of interaction by those who are present are included. Did it create a greater proficiency for the company and accountability regarding what was presented?
It made me think about the commitment of two hours a week for nine weeks to learn more about the Good and Beautiful God and deepen one’s commitment to being an apprentice to Jesus in the context of a small group of fellow seekers. I think the time spent is reasonable, even if we add to the actual time in the small group meeting the time to read a chapter in the book and to practice a soul training exercise for that week. (Since one of the first exercises is getting more sleep, that might be quite welcome at the first of the year!)
I know that the lessons and content have been carefully planned and practiced, not only by the author of the program, James Brian Smith, in his own church, but it has been captured in the Leader’s Guide which he has produced for the group’s facilitators. Plus, you will have your own participant’s manual to keep you on track. There is little time wasted as starting on time and sticking to the schedule is a high value in the program.
Fifteen dollars for the participation costs not only provides you with a book and participant guide, but all of the other materials that would be used during the class sessions. Let’s see. Is that the price of a movie with popcorn these days? And since all of the leadership is voluntary one can be sure that the money is only being used for administrative costs.
You can be confident that the facilitators will help guide the discussion and make every effort to keep the interactions among the group profitable to the intention of growing in greater Christlikeness as an apprentice to Jesus. I know they have received training for that purpose, as well as having back up from the pastors of the churches involved.
The information is a biblical exploration of how an apprentice to Jesus can be formed into greater Christlikeness through a deeper understanding of who God is as revealed by Jesus. By making a commitment to spend time with the Trinitarian community, and opening your heart, mind, and body to the possibilities that an interactive, deeper relationship carries in the context of community, you are bound to benefit. And the community context creates a built-in accountability and is based on a confidentiality agreement.
So is there an ROI by making this commitment? Is this something that might have value and contribute to your journey with Christ? If you have been thinking about it, feeling some nudges to do it, perhaps this is an appointed time for you.
Six different times are available at six different locations. You don’t have to be a member of the church site in which you chose to attend. To quote a Celtic saying, “Bidden or not bidden, God is present.” When we provide the time and space to acknowledge His presence, we honor that reality and open ourselves to the blessings He has in store for us as the Good and Beautiful God outlines.
Registration forms are available at the church sites, through the facilitators or by email. Questions? Call one of the facilitators or me, Jo Panter, 231-947-8929.