Shepherd’s Way

Shepherd’s Way: An Intentional Journey

Shepherd’s Way is a new initiative to help pastors and their families who may be unable to take 3-weeks away from their churches for our Renewal and Growth Retreat.

We know the stresses and strains of the past three years have been particularly hard on pastors and their families and we want to help.

Shepherd’s Way is a hybrid model including:

  • 10 day stay at our beautiful Southwest Michigan campus.
  • Virtual follow-up for a total of 3 months journeying together.

We have carefully thought through every detail of your stay. Our setting and accommodations are designed with the purpose of fostering rest, renewal, and deep life change. Our approach and curriculum have been shaped and refined over two decades by pastors and missionaries, for pastors and missionaries.

Our counselors are licensed and uniquely gifted and trained to work with people in ministry. The mentors for Shepherd’s Way are highly experienced ministry singles or couples uniquely suited to work on the Alongside team. Our staff is warm and hospitable, most of whom have also served in domestic ministry or cross-culturally.

What will Shepherd’s Way be like?

We come alongside you in your journey and walk with you into new understanding, deep rest, and renewal in each of our offerings.

  • Wellness seminars – Over many years of work with people in ministry, our skilled counselors identified consistent concerns and designed seminars to address them head-on.
  • Group Counseling – Each weekday you will meet with a cohort of other ministry leaders in a safe environment.
  • Private Counseling – Each weekday you will meet as a couple or individual with your assigned therapist.

In addition, Shepherd’s Way is unique in offering targeted follow up via online platforms:

  • On-going Mentoring every other week (approximately 1 hour) – These couples and individuals are highly trained, experienced, and uniquely equipped to walk with you as you grow through supporting, encouraging, and praying with you.
  • Virtual Wellness seminars weekly (1 hour) – Topics are relevant to church leadership.
  • Virtual group weekly (1 hour) – Your group will continue to meet virtually with the same mentor(s) and continue to process the challenges of faith, life, and ministry together.

This is all provided in the context of a caring community, in a safe place. The schedule is intentionally designed with it has some room and space, so you can breathe.

What Will My Kids Be Doing?

Alongside is unique in its ministry to both the person and to their most important, intimate relationships. We know that when the adults in the family are in pain, the children often suffer as well. We have developed both a children’s and youth (teen) program based on the same material the parents cover in their seminars. These programs are designed for and adjusted to fit the age and developmental needs of the kids attending each retreat. We are staffed to be able to care for children from infancy through adolescence.

Children under 12

We have two classrooms designed for our children’s program. In one classroom, kids ranging from 5 to 12 years old will learn through activities, multimedia, and loving instruction from our caring and experienced children’s staff. In the other classroom, children under age 5 are lovingly cared for by our Pre-K children’s team, who also theme their days around the same content that the rest of the family is learning.

While parents are in their program, the Alongside kids’ crew will host the children from 8:30 AM-3:30 pm each weekday (with a break for lunch) as well as during two special evening events. The children will not be ‘cooped up’ in a classroom the whole program, we have a full-sized gym and two playgrounds where kids can RUN, play line-tag, and participate in other fun activities with our skilled staff.

Teenagers 13-18

Listening, acceptance, flexibility, and community characterize our youth (teen) program. The program is made up of seminar sessions that the teens participate in with each other, followed by time with our youth staff to discuss the material and pursue learning activities. Teens learn from our staff, process what they are learning, and apply it to their hearts and lives.

The teen program is designed to be a place for community building. Flexibility, being heard and accepted right where they are in a space specifically designed for them is the goal. Their story and their thoughts are important. The program will flex and will be focused on common language similar to adult seminar topics each day.  Building community and just “being” are important components of the teen program as we learn and grow together. It is our hope that teens will walk away knowing other, themselves and God better. Believing that The Father has been involved in every aspect of their time together here at Alongside.

Access to Child/Teen Counseling

In addition, we have counselors on staff who have expertise in working with children and adolescents. They can be available to meet with you and/or your child(ren) for consultation and, sometimes, counseling while you are at Alongside. Please let us know if you would like to pursue this for your child or children when applying for a retreat.

To learn about upcoming retreat dates, visit Upcoming Dates.