Here are the answers to a few common questions asked by prospective clients:
Who else would be at an Alongside retreat with me?
At an Alongside retreat you can expect a combination of pastors and missionaries, with a maximum of 10 families (singles or couples) in attendance to allow for a good balance of personal attention and community. If a guest is married, we strongly encourage spousal participation. Our program is usually a catalyst for much growth, and if you do not grow together, you are more vulnerable to “growing apart!”
Why are your retreats 3 weeks in length?
The length of our retreats is significantly longer than many other pastoral care ministries. Experience has shown that program participants realize more than double the growth in a 3-week program as they do in 2 weeks, and it generally takes 3 weeks to deal adequately with the concerns that brought them to Alongside. With our 3-week retreat, each guest will participate in no fewer than 13 individual and 13 group sessions, leading one former guest to describe his stay at Alongside as “thorough and comprehensive; no stone was left unturned!”
What does the daily schedule look like for an ALONGSIDE retreat?
Our retreats take place Monday through Friday, with a Saturday morning session the first week. We begin with a time of orientation on the first Monday afternoon, generally followed by a fellowship dinner, with the formal program beginning the following morning. Our retreats wrap up at around noon or 1:00 on Friday of the last week. You should plan to arrive between 12:00 and 3:00 (2:00 for latest airport arrival time) on Monday of the first week (unless the retreat begins on a Tuesday due to a holiday). If you are flying out, please book a flight no earlier than 2:00 on the last day of the program.
How will this retreat be tailored to my situation?
Our counseling staff uses standard psychological assessment tools to provide a professional analysis of our guests’ spiritual and emotional needs so that each guest’s counseling is focused on his or her individual needs. Initial counseling hours are also spent in discussing each person’s history and needs, with subsequent counseling sessions tailored to deal with those concerns. All of our guests are afforded full professional confidentiality, and every program participant is provided a copy of our confidentiality policy.
Does the program run during the weekends?
We intentionally keep the weekends free during our retreats so that our clients have time to rest and reflect on what they’ve learned so far. Most of our clients use the weekends for worship, reading, journaling, visiting friends, sight-seeing, or just relaxing. We strongly recommend that you NOT use the weekends for preaching/teaching in a local church or other ministry activities, since the intent of the retreat is to be ministered to rather than ‘do ministry’.