Dr. Dan B. Allender and The Allender Center teaching staff recently traveled to Southern California for The Story Workshop, hosted by Mariner’s Church at the Irvine, CA, campus. The Allender Center and Mariner’s Church have partnered for nearly three years for various internal workshops and events, but The Story Workshop was the first of these events that was open to the public.
Thirty-five people gathered for the event, including participants from Florida, Iowa, Missouri, Nevada, Texas, British Columbia, Denmark, and the Faroe Islands. One-third of the participants were Mariner’s Church staff members, who participated in the Workshop because of the church’s desire to continue to shape how their leadership cares for their community.
The Story Workshop invites participants to explore the themes of their life as they write and tell their stories, with teaching staff and fellow participants offering encouragement, wisdom, and feedback in order to gain better understanding. The Workshop includes teaching sessions with Dr. Allender, small groups led by Dr. Allender’s skilled facilitator team where participants share elements of their story, and one-on-one sessions with facilitators to further explore the themes being uncovered and the participant’s experiences.
The small groups, consisting of six to seven participants, offer a safe and intimate environment for participants to share vulnerable elements of their story and be seen in new and redemptive ways. “I found this to be the best retreat/workshop that I have ever experienced,” one participant said. “It has been redemptive to some very broken and dark places in my heart.”
“I’m forever grateful to Dan and his staff for helping me see life with eyes wide open,” another participant expressed. “They took my pain and shame and helped me see truth so I can now learn to live a redemptive life instead of living under a veil of shame.”
The small group sessions have impacted so many at The Story Workshop that The Allender Center recently introduced Story Groups, short-term intensive small groups created for the purpose of personal growth and transformation. Continuing the work of The Story Workshop, Story Groups invite participants to explore how their life experiences have shaped them into who they are today through weekly sessions with trained facilitators.
The next Story Groups will begin this fall following The Story Workshop this August in Seattle.
Pictured: Dr. Allender with The Allender Center facilitator team and Mariner’s Church leadership