Thought #2: The retreat-supplemented by some sort of online community-building is a fascinating idea. It strikes me as analogous to the online courses that are popping up everywhere: you meet in the flesh maybe once a month and online interact much more frequently. This seems to like an interesting niche/middle ground between attending a major one time event and a weekly church service. Promise keepers/woman of faith/catalysst type things can be so isolated from our every day experiences. Weekly church services and small groups can be so routine.
He seems to have cottoned onto the fact that there really is an “online course” aspect to the project I’m trying to figure out how to start. This model has, in fact, been suggested to me, but since I haven’t actually taken any such courses (except for the ones I’ve been finishing up from Seminary, which are, in fact, a little different), I’m not entirely sure how to set this up. Maybe that is really the only question I am asking about this hypothetical nonprofit I would like to start, but Jeff is correct that there are other questions and observations to be made in the wake of it.
Less obvious to me than the class aspect was his observation about the middle ground between major conference-type event and weekly church service. I might be as intrigued by this as he is, simply because I hadn’t noticed it before and it is an unusual way to think about practicing and developing the communal relationship with God. I’m not sure that once a month retreats would really be sustainable, though. If my Paul and I were able, at this moment, to pick ourselves up and buy a farm in the Granite State, from which we could host retreats on our own property, that might be more of an option, but in our current pleasant but tiny digs, it really just isn’t. I wonder what the minimum number of retreats would be in order to create this middle ground Jeff describes, and I wonder what the ultimate goal of said middle ground would be. What do you think?