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Testify: Storytelling as Outreach Ministry

During this two-day practical and interactive retreat, learn how story is a fundamental Christian practice for building community, bridging divisions, increasing resiliency, and mobilizing communities for the work of the Spirit. Based on over two decades of work with faith communities and story, author and spiritual director Mark Yaconelli will help participants explore the power of storytelling for enhancing their outreach ministries and bolstering spiritual formation, social justice, and other ministries in the church. 

Using contemplative exercises, narrative practices, theological reflection, and real-world examples, participants will: 

•    Understand how stories function in our personal and communal lives. 
•    Learn how to create transformative events that deepen relationships within a community of faith. 
•    Explore narrative practices that promote spiritual growth, social awareness, and community action. 
•    Learn how to create a variety of public story-sharing platforms that engender trust and vulnerability. 
•    Gain concrete skills for community storytelling including story recruitment, event promotion, audience building, public participation, and fundraising. 
•    Discover methods for amplifying the voice of marginalized populations. 
•    Learn how to apply storytelling techniques within worship, staff meetings, church committees, and other informal gatherings.

Audience: Anyone interested in the power of storytelling to connect the community and enliven outreach efforts 

Dates: Tuesday, October 25, 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM, and Wednesday, October 26, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Cost: $250; includes lunch and refreshments both days.

Breakfast can be purchased in Stotts Fellowship Hall with cash or credit/debit cards. We also have limited on-campus guest lodging available for Monday and Tuesday night, which may be prepaid after registration. Contact Mikala McFerren, Program Coordinator, for details.

Register Here


Meet the Presenter

Mark Yaconelli is a speaker, community-builder, spiritual director, and author of six books including Between the Listening and the Telling: How Stories Can Save Us (Broadleaf, 2022). As founder and director of The Hearth nonprofit, Yaconelli has worked with The Diocese of London, Compassion International, Princeton Theological Seminary, Luther Seminary, The Greenbelt Arts Festival, The Salvation Army, among other organizations. Yaconelli holds an MA in Spirituality from the Graduate Theological Union and received a spiritual direction diploma from San Francisco Theological Seminary. Interviews and profiles of Mark’s work have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, BBC Radio, and ABC World News Tonight. He and his wife have three grown children and live in Ashland, Oregon. 

Mark Yaconelli is one of this country's most important and articulate spiritual teachers.
-Anne Lamott, New York Times bestselling author