Emmaus ministries, Journey to the Table
March 17th is an important day. It marks exactly two years that we have been working on a new program for ministry with young adults, which means it is also the two ear anniversary of when I started working at The Upper Room. It is also my birthday. And last but not least, it is the day that the first informational video will come out about Journey to the Table. This video will be the first in a series of informational and training videos and other material as part of the the launch of this new program. This series will finish with Journey to the Table #1 at The Upper Room headquarters in Nashville, TN July 8th – 10th, 2016. In preparation for this first Journey to the Table video on March 17th, I thought I’d share a few of the still captures from the first draft of the video.   1 I like to call this one ‘the news desk.’   2 A little dimmer lighting and this could be a music video.   3 There’s just no excuse for making that face. I’m sorry.   4 Here’s a good one. Except who blocked that fire extinguisher with a pillow?
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There is one more test still to come for Journey to the Table the weekend of March 4th through 6th. We are already making some changes to the program based on what we have learned from the tests that we have already run, and will be putting the finishing touches on those after the last test. Then comes the really exciting part: the part where we get to offer Journey to the Table more widely. Beginning on March 17th, there will be a series of videos, training, and information becoming available to find out more about how you can start Journey to the Table where you are. This series will continue until July 8th when the first JTT event begins in Nashville at The Upper Room headquarters. I hope that you will join us along this part of the journey as we launch this new program.
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Since September of 2015 we have been testing the first draft of the program with six partners in different settings. This weekend will be the fourth of those six tests. With each test, we have been learning about different aspects of JTT in more depth and revising the program according to what we learn. In some cases, we have learned that the first draft of the program serves participants well and genuinely helps people create space for conversations together about faith in their lives. In others we have learned how we can adjust the way JTT is designed to serve participants better. Overall, we have been fortunate so far in having a positive impact with participants with the program in its first draft. In other posts I have been sharing a few pieces that we have learned. I have tried to share some bigger items that we have seen in multiple tests so far. For a slightly more fun way to read the highlights so far, here’s a series of quotes from my brain as I’ve observed the three tests that we have completed: “Well what do you know, this thing actually works!” “We designed something with college students and young adults specifically in mind, and it seems to connect with them.” “So you’re saying we don’t all have to agree on everything about faith to have a good conversation about faith in our lives?.. Brilliant!” “We can’t ask people to leave any part of themselves out of the conversation. I’m glad my program doesn’t do that.” “Journey to the Table isn’t designed to be overtly evangelical.” “What happens when someone who is questioning faith shows up? Pull up a chair next to me, I have some questions I’d like to ask too.” “Participants seem most engaged when it doesn’t feel like a lecture.” “How do we get the people giving talks to be more personable?” “Of course this doesn’t have to be a weekend retreat – everyone already knows how to meet once a week.” “We’re not trying to tell people all of the right answers. How do we do a great job of inviting people to talk about interesting questions of faith and life? That’s a more interesting conversation – at least to me.”
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Emmaus ministries, Journey to the Table
Merry-Christmas-Text-Design All through advent this year I’ve been thinking about what it means to look forward to something. I’ve watched candles burn, and counted days on the calendar, and made plans with friends and family,.. all waiting for something to come that I knew would eventually be here. Some of those conversations were more about the fact that a vacation was coming soon. But no other vacation makes me want to light candles to show how close it is. No other vacation makes me ask myself, “what would it mean if my actions showed how much I am anticipating what is about to happen?” There’s really only two things I can think that make me ask that type of question right now: Journey to the Table and Jesus. I’ve been planning for almost two years what it would like when JTT finally arrives. We’ll all get to see more of that soon. But I’ve also been exposed to this question of what life will look like because Jesus arrived for as long as I’ve been able to think. I’m not sure that thinking about that question more than I usually do has granted any great answers. I know that it’s made me more aware of just how grateful I am that he came. That great act of love, just coming to be present with us, is such a powerful role model for me. It’s a simple act, but also a meaningful one. It means none of us every have to be a lone. And it means I can show love to others just by being present, and proves that presence is enough. For my Christmas this ear, I’m going to see some people who are very close to me, and whom I want to show love. I hope you get the chance to show love to others also. Merry Christmas! He’s here!
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