Staff guidelines and principles for Intermissionary Retreats
As Intermissionary Staff our primary role is that of a listeners. It sounds like an easy thing but actually it's a lost art form. It's been said that being listened to is so close to being loved that most people can't tell the difference. To love God and others is why we do Intermissionary at all.
If I’ve asked you to staff Intermissionary as a professional listener, then listening is your primary job. Not ministering, not engaging in spiritual warfare, not counseling, not consulting, not rooting up buried pain etc. Those things may certainly arise, and that's ok, but that is not our agenda.
Our agenda is to advance their agenda, whatever it is, by listening carefully and asking good questions to discover it.
Please read the Returning Well companion guide, it gives a simple, beautiful description of listening as an act of love. Follow the guidelines Melissa lays out and you will be golden. Also, should you think at any time that one of our participants needs a therapeutic referral, please let me know right away.
- We are not experts in their lives. They are.
- We are not more spiritually mature.
- We do not have a stronger connection to God that they’re using like free wifi.
- We are not in a position of authority over them.
- We know stuff, they know stuff. We share it with each other.
- We don't give advice, based on our expertise.
- We may occasionally recommend a book, tool or strategy, but by implying we know what's right for them or what the Lord's will is for them, we may inadvertently make them dependent on our ability to hear the Lord on their behalf.
- We help people hear from God reliably and for themselves. Please remember Jesus dispensed with intermediaries. He is what they need. Not us.
- We don't use platitudes, rather we wait in silence.
- We acknowledge and validate emotion. Feelings are always legal. No matter how irrational or misguided they seem. We can ask questions around the thinking, but we first validate the emotion behind it.
- We do pray for people, and share, with permission, what we think the Lord is saying.
- We are open to disciplined, biblical prophecy, but we monitor it. 1Ths. 5:20-21
- We walk our talk and spend a lot of time with the Lord. John 15
- We pray Psalm 51 and repent quickly when we sin.
- We encourage people to walk into the throne room of grace and enjoy themselves.
- We are fellow pilgrims walking with them for a stretch.
- We talk things over as trusted friends. Hey 10:25
- We let them wrestle with things, and quietly hold space as they do, rather than rescuing them with our wisdom and knowledge. Gen 32:22
If you have been asked to share a teaching at Intermissionary, please:
- Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you into all truth at this time, for this group, then rewrite/edit as you’re led. Do not be afraid to move with the Holy Spirit.
- Rather than preach and teach, please share, invite, discuss and listen.
- When you share, imagine you are preaching to yourself and just allowing them to overhear. What do you need reminding of? Where are your struggles?
- Remember most people need reminding and encouraging more than they need instruction or interpretation of the scriptures. There’s a place for that, but probably not at Intermissionary.
- Anything we share should always point to the Lord Jesus and his goodness.
We are doing something different at Intermissionary. The model where an expert speaks from the front, while the listeners take notes, certainly has value. We may teach a bit using this model, but what we’re really after is a first century church, gathering of pilgrims, linking arms in friendship and solidarity, learning and walking with Jesus together.