Positive & Negative Responses to
“Resolved to Involve” Retreats & Seminars, now…
Over the past two years, we have done several workshops to train congregations on how to start an involvement ministry. We called these retreats/workshops “RtI” or “Resolved to Involve.” We are now calling them SERVE Ministries Workshops.
Each retreat or workshop was evaluated by the participants. Following are many of the responses of those participants including suggestions for improvements. Please use these evaluations as possible recommendations for attending or for having a retreat or workshop.
The new retreats are about 3 to 6 hours and the new workshops are now a minimum of 13 hours. The workshops are only for those congregations that are serious about involvement and are willing to make a commitment to involvement. Having a retreat first may help them make the decision to have a workshop. Retreats are fun and attenders enjoy them. Workshops are ‘work’ shops. You can see a workshop schedule on this website.
Following are many (not all) of individual evaluations. Our retreats and workshops are designed to assist church leadership in designing a means to get all of their church members involved in ministry.
There were 7 questions that I asked participants to answer in my evaluation (the new evaluation has only 6 questions). I was pleasantly surprised by the answers. The most negative thing that was shared was time related. Some participants would have liked to have had the Power Point materials. I am still thinking about that one. A lot of material is made available for their use before, during and after the presentations.
Following are the questions and some of the answers that came from dozens of participants:
- Was this weekend what you expected? If not, what did you expect?
It was great. It was better. Yes, better. The inter-active workshop was very good. Many simply answered, “Yes.” No, it was so much better than what I expected…It was very insightful. I was pleasantly surprised by the presentation style…The handouts are great and allow/develop great insight. More than what was expected. It provided more information than I expected. I was pleasantly surprised with topics as they related to discovering myself and others. Yes, very helpful. I found this information helpful for church involvement.
- Was there material or information that you would have found helpful that was not presented? If so, what information would you have included?
I did a three-hour presentation which really limited me and also limited much needed discussion; following are some of the responses from that event: Needed break out sessions, role playing. I can’t think of anything. Need more information about implementation.
My weekend retreats received completely different responses: many said, “No,” there wasn’t anything else you could have presented. One added that time constraints would not have allowed any other materials. One person answered “Yes” but did not suggest anything to be added.
- Were the presentations too brief or too long?
For the three-hour event, 9 of the participants felt that the timing was just right. One person thought things went too fast (and so did I). Other answers ranged from “Perfect” to “Good” to “Just right.” Several felt we had enough breaks and that the break-out sessions were helpful and very engaging. One wanted more time and one said that the sessions showed great time management. A more recent workshop participant suggested that more time was needed for break out sessions. A few suggested more discussion and a shorter ‘first’ presentation. I have taken these suggestions seriously and made changes. I would say 90% liked the length of the presentations and some felt more discussion on personalities was desired.
- Were the presentations too deep or too shallow?
The most used answer was “Just right.” Two folks said, “neither.” And, it is not surprising that one said, “Things went too fast.” Some other responses were, “well balanced,” “good depth,” “fine,” “good,” “very good,” and “perfect.” One participant felt the material was a little shallow for those present, but it would work for a congregational presentation. Other comments included: well organized, enthusiastic and clear presentation. Several liked the visual content.
- If you could list two ways to improve this retreat, what would they be?
Many left this question blank. Several felt the need for more time. One said, “Not sure” how to improve it. I one added, “Great job!” One said, “it was a great approach….” Some felt they needed more time for discussion. There were also some who felt the seating wasn’t adequate and one thought the lighting for the projector wasn’t good. And, then one, stated that more of the church leaders needed to be present. The new workshops are 13 hours; this is on purpose to allow adequate break out time and time for breaks for refreshments, and potty trips.
- What did you like most about the presentations?
Very well presented. Concise, clear, good interaction. It was both fun and informative. Made me think. Seeing how personalities interact. Practical, applicable, materials ready to use and informative. Many liked talking about personality traits. The material was presented in such a way that made it interesting. Everything! Personal accounts and humor. It put it on the front of my mind as to a person’s gifts and passions. I enjoyed the group discussions. It was done in a way that all can understand. The spiritual gift test, personality, greatest passions test. The focus on understanding our differences and the strength that can be developed because of it.
Realizing your personalities, passions and interests and using them to edify the church, coming up with creative ways to utilize these. It was relatable. Your fun spirit and the practicality of the subject. Breakdown of the personalities of different people. Was challenging and visionary. Great introduction practice “unknown facts.” “Kept moving.” It helps to understand why as well as how. Thought provoking and simplistic. What it showed about myself. Practical, easy to understand and good visuals. Survey to determine your spiritual gifts. Many enjoyed discovering how God has designed them (with gifts, personalities, passions, etc.)
- What do you think you, as a church leadership, should do having spent this time and learned what was presented this weekend?
I will not list every answer here. However, I will say that almost 100% of the respondents thought they should immediately move forward with assisting members in discovering how God had created them for good works and get all members involved in ministry. To this day, I have not had one negative response under this question.
If you are interested in talking to the folks who invited me, please give me a call and I’ll give you their contact information. Thanks for taking the time to read these. I am taking reservations for workshops and retreats. I hope to have two workshops here in Athens this year. Our first one is May 24 and 25. Trav