A fire hose - that's the best way to describe the amount of content poured forth. The dousing isn't dampening, though, it's reinvigorating.
The first session (about 100 minutes!) explored the concept of the Eucharist as a description of our ministry: pouring your life out for another - the pouring is a blessing that is used by the One to reclaim/restore/reconcile/redeem. Their is a pain/suffering element to the daily pouring out of a pastor/minister/volunteer/servant. There is also a resulting need to be filled back up, to be refreshed, renewed, re-energized. Bell discussed some ideas about establishing a rhythm in life, a pattern that helps sustain you, takes into account the scheduled and spontaneous Eucharist moments. Good stuff for Tara and I to discuss. With a young family, a baby on the way, an M.Div to finish up, her work schedule, our personal growth, my ambitions and ministry: how to do real life that sustains shalom at home and is a blessing to others?
The last session of the day (another 100+ minutes) explored how to infuse creativity into ministry. Maybe a better way to describe it: how to do creative ministry like Jesus (who is the Creator...and our model for ministry...). At one level, it was a fun lesson that provided good reminders on ideas already exposed to numerous times. But I need to hear it again and again, since I still have plenty of room to improve in my communication...so I hear.... Bell stressed the idea of "sacramental imagination": God is everywhere, always at work and is always present and open to the Seeker who wants to communicate a message that has been planted deep within the minister. It was highly practical, focusing on the benefits of editing, giving oneself enough time to dwell on the message, expose oneself to many ideas/sources, and focus, focus, focus on the core message. Good stuff.
One of my Elders lovingly assured me that he is always praying for me that my sermons will become more precise. Hopefully today will contribute to that prayer being answered.