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Hello Training Team!

Grace Encounter is such an amazing experience as God shows up and brings new life. I know we are humbled and amazed by his work in all of our lives and the trainees who come to GE. We've added the theme "Transformation Through Loving Connection" to describe this awesome thing that GE is. Its the love of God flowing from one trainee to another and from us to them. It reminds me of John 15 where we are all abiding in the Father's love and in the love of one another. So, as we come to this next GE lets focus on loving connection, what we can give, and be giving from our real self to our teammates and the trainees. As we move in this direction I know we will all experience that transformation. 


Love and joy,


Randal Weidenaar, GE Director

Team Calendar
Team Calendar

Orientation Meeting:  Usually held 1 week prior to Journey 1.


Journey One

Friday:  Set-Up starts at 3:00 pm.  If you cannot help with Set-Up, be at the venue by 5:30 pm.  You're on your own for dinner.  Team meeting will begin at 6:15 pm in the Training Room (all set up and in appropriate attire).

Sunday:  After the Turnaround, we are responsible to tear down the room, and then we will have a Team meeting to pick Impostor Nametags for J2.  That meeting should conclude by 9:30 pm or so.


Journey Two

Wednesday:  Set-Up starts at 4:00 pm.  If you cannot help with Set-Up, be at the venue by 5:00 pm.  You're on your own for dinner. Team meeting will begin at 5:45 pm in the Training Room (all set up and in appropriate attire).

Saturday:  Stones Meeting - 8:00 am in the Training Room, this is where we pick old and new stones to give to Trainees in J3.  If we do not have enough time to complete this task we will then need to schedule a meeting for that following week.

Sunday:  After the Turnaround, we will tear down the room.

Follow-Up Meetings:  Begins usually 2nd week after J2 -- for 8 weeks -- Columbia First Nazarene Church.  If you're scheduled to be at a Follow-Up session, arrive at 6:30 pm for prayer with other Team members.  Trainee meeting is from 7:00 to 9:00 pm.  The final Follow-Up meeting will be your chance to share parting words with the Trainees.  The Training Team will discuss and decide, at the Orientation meeting, which weeknight Follow-Up meetings will be.


Journey Three

Friday:  Set-Up starts at about 4:00 pm.  If you cannot help with Set-Up, be at the venue by 5:30 pm.  You're on your own for dinner. Team meeting will begin at 6:15 pm in the Training Room (all set up and appropriate attire).

Saturday:  J3 Party 

Sunday:  After we dismiss the Trainees (at about 5:00 pm), we are responsible to tear down the room.


Journey Four

Friday:  Set-Up starts at about 4:00 pm.  If you cannot help with Set-Up, be at the venue by 5:30 pm.  You're on your own for dinner. Team meeting will begin at 6:15 pm in the Training Room (all set up and in appropriate attire).

Saturday:  After the Turnaround we will tear down the room, and then there will be a graduation party for the new alumni which should end no later than 8:00 pm.

Team Guidelines
Team Guidelines

Be in prayer for the entire Grace Encounter experience and commit to share your life, in love, with fellow believers.


Team Leadership:

Director = Randal Weidenaar, overall cultural and direction of the workshop, supervises the Service Team Leaders (Blacks, Marths, Weidenaars).

Workshop Coordinators = Tom & Jo Black, run-of-show, in charge of materials and timing (the when).

Key Facilitator = Rebekah Weidenaar, psychological well-being of the Trainees, directs Trainers in the how.

Set-Up/Take-Down = Tom Black, Training Room.

Encouragement (Clap-In, Turnarounds, Stretch Party) = Tom Black, oversees ???

Food = Linda Marth, oversees Kreitners.

Registrar = Linda Marth, lodging, keys, tuition collection.

AV = Rick Noah

Team Meetings:  Team and Training session meetings need to start on time, at the beginning of each day and during breaks.  This helps set the mood for the Encounter, and the Trainees will see that the Team takes it seriously.  On the evenings we begin Journeys, the initial Training Team meeting will convene 45 minutes before the start of the Journey with the Trainees.  Any responsibilities you have to help prepare for the Journey, or personal concerns, need to be completed before that Team meeting begins.  You should already be dressed and have eaten your meal before that meeting.  For the morning meetings of the Training Team, have your breakfast finished before coming to the meeting.  Drinks are permissible at that meeting.


Training Team Attire:  Due to the environment we strive to create, our appearance needs to follow the following guidelines:

Journey 1

  • Professional Business (on Sunday, ties and blouses may be a little more colorful).

Journey 2

  • Wednesday thru Friday ... Professional Business

  • Saturday afternoon (Stretch Party) ... Crazy

  • Saturday evening thru Sunday ... Business Casual

Journey 3

  • Friday thru Saturday afternoon ... Business Casual

  • Saturday afternoon thru Sunday ... Nice Casual

Journey 4

  • Nice Casual

Definition of Terms:

Professional Business

  • Ladies wear dark dresses, suits, or sets. No light colors, but dark reds, blues, etc.

  • Men wear dark suits, plain dark shirts & ties. Banded collars or dark turtlenecks are acceptable. Again no light colors.

Business Casual

  • Slacks, collared shirts, dressy blouses, skirts. The colors may be light.


  • Weird hats, t-shirts, jeans, costumes, shorts are fine but should be conservative.

Nice Casual

  • Nice jeans (without holes) and shirts. No shorts or t-shirts. 

Circles of Responsibility:  Respect the assigned circles of responsibility. If you see something that needs to be done ask the person responsible if they would like any help.  Just don't assume. 

Training Table:  Keep the tabletop tidy and uncluttered. Keep the area behind the table tidy and safe.


Training Team Notebook:  Make sure the Trainees don't see your Training notebook.  Close it when not in use.  You may take it back to your room to ready for your teaching for the next day.

Talking During Sessions:  No talking at the table during sessions. Talking or other noises from the Team can distract facilitators and Trainees.  It also communicates to the Trainees that what is being done up front is not of significant value.  Go to the back room if you need to talk quietly. Be attentive to activities and use your inactive time at the table for prayer.


Leaving the Training Room:  Generally, do not leave the Training Room during sessions. If you need to leave, notify a Team member. Open and close the door quietly on those occasions. 


Neutral Expressions:  The Team is to be neutral from the start, including at the venue before Journey One starts, and during breaks when you are moving about. "Neutral" means no smiling or laughing, but a pleasant polite straight face.  Generally make statements, not requests.  This will accelerate the group relating to one another and help the necessary bonding that must take place.  Softening of some aspects of this guideline will be explained by the Key Facilitator at certain points during the Journeys.


Fraternization:  No fraternizing, hanging out, or socializing with Trainees.  If you are asked a question, give as brief an answer as possible, and move on.  We want Trainees to turn to their group for support.  Also, if you have a friend or relative who will be a Trainee, let them know before Journey One that you will be in Training mode during the Encounter, so you won't be socializing or communicating with them as you normally would.  This will be hard as we'll be living together in a dormitory.  Try hard to minimize engagement.


Back & Shoulder Rubs:  When these are indicated in the Training Schedule, take note that every person in your small group is touched. This is a special process, but should not be overdone.  If someone has been sexually abused, be very cautious.  You'll receive special guidance about this before the exercise.  Read the Trainees' body language, and respect their felt boundaries.  Watch the Sound Tech for his one-minute signal, and at that time return to your chairs quickly and quietly.


Concerns:  Leave personal problems at home, and focus on the Trainees.  If you have a conflict with someone else on the Team, wait until Training hours are over to resolve the problem.  Division and conflict among Team members will take away from the Trainees' experience.  If you are unable to "be present" emotionally, talk to the Director or the Key Facilitator about it.  It is very important throughout the Encounter to "keep short accounts" with other Team members.


Tear-Down:  You are responsible to help pick up and pack up all the GE materials and possessions we've brought to the Training Room. Plan to be present and helping during this brief time at the end of each Journey.  In most cases, you will be assigned some specific tear-down responsibilities. The Workshop Coordinators will direct our tear-down.


Facebook Group:  Read the Facebook Group Welcome given to the Trainees (it's in your Training Notebook, and you may remove it and take it with you for reference).  Remember that this is not your Facebook group.  It is not appropriate for you to ask for medicine in this group--do that with the Training Team, or your own Encounter's Facebook group, the Alumni Facebook group, or in other relationships.  Do not participate in the Facebook Group as if you were one of the Trainees.  You may respond to concerns or needs posted by Trainees, or give general encouragements.  The most appropriate level for your participation in this Facebook Group is "occasional."


Small Group Time-Keeping:  If you are leading a small group (Trainer or Training Associate), you will need a watch that marks seconds, analog or digital, whichever you can most easily read.

Small Group Leaders' Responsibilities:

  1. Pray daily for your group.

  2. Be in control of your group.  Begin immediately on Friday evening of Journey One to take charge of your group.  You will be given ideas on how to do this.  Do not allow a Trainee to control or manipulate the group or the processes.

  3. Keep your group focused and on track.  That means stopping any side talking, and being aware of the time.  We strive to end small group processes at the same time as much as possible.

  4. Encourage your small group to share when large group sharing time comes.

  5. Communicate problems or concerns about your group to the Key Facilitator during breaks.

  6. Make sure you understand the process or exercises we are about to begin.  Don't be afraid to ask for clarification.  You will be coached in the upcoming exercises during breaks.

  7. Do not allow a Trainee to use you as his or her support system.

  8. After Journey One ...

    1. Each group member is to be contacted.  Your Trainer will indicate which group members you (the Training Assistant) are to contact. Let each one know you're praying for and "there for" her or him.  The three days between J1 and J2 can be long for a Trainee.

    2. Your contact should be a telephone conversation, done by Tuesday evening.  Leave a voice mail message only if absolutely necessary.  Find out how they're doing.  Ask about how they feel about coming back Wednesday.  Ask if there is anything about their experience so far, including with other Trainees, that is a concern to them. Contact the Key Facilitator with any concerns or questions.

    3. Ask each Trainee if their roommate assignment is working out.  If there are any new concerns in this area, contact the Key Faciliator for directions.

  9. After Journey Two ...

    1. Stay in contact with each small group member until Journey Three.  Call each one by the first Tuesday after J2.  Express your prayer support.  During the month between J2 & J3, Trainees will be vulnerable and tender, and usually will start "coming down" from the mountaintop, which can be hard.

    2. During the first week after J2, send a card or note to each group member.

    3. By the second Monday after J2, contact each small group member again.

    4. Call once per week until Journey Three.

    5. Monitor group email, but don't contribute excessively. It's important for them to support one another.

    6. Report any concerns to the Key Facilitator.

  10. After Journey Three ... send at least one card or note to encourage them with their baby steps and goals.

  11. After Journey Four ... send a card or note encouraging them to stay connected with their group.

Team Covenant
Team Covenant

You'll find a paper copy of this Covenant in the Trainer Notebook you receive.  We want you to sign that copy.  The Covenant is printed here for you to become familiar with its provisions before we ask you to sign it.  Please ask the Director if you need clarification of any aspects of this Team Covenant.

1 Peter 4:8-10 "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.  Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.  Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms."

Our Vision

  1. GE seeks to address issues of the heart.  We emphasize internal motivations over external conformity, scriptural truth without judgments, and relationships rather than rules.

  2. We strive for a balance of truth with love, transparency with trust, and the recognition of sinfulness and brokenness with the hope of holiness and healing.

  3. Our desire is that all will experience, and then be able to model, the relentless tenderness and grace of God.


Our Values

Grace ... meeting others on their journeys

Love ... compassionate encounter with others

Truth ... honest dialogue with others

Courage ... boldly stepping out of our comfort zones

Humility ... understanding our own brokenness and weakness

Unity ... focusing on what unites us while respecting our differences


My Promises to the Training Team

By the grace of God, I will ...

Seek to exhibit the above values to each of you

Pray for each of you repeatedly

Care for each of you through acts of kindness

Keep confidential what each of you share

Attend all Team meetings faithfully with you

(unless excused by the Director, includes all sessions of all 4 Journeys)


My Promises to the Trainees

By the grace of God, I will ...

Seek to exhibit the above values to you

Be present to you through purposeful listening and bold participation

Lay aside my own problems, conflicts, and personal agenda, and respect boundaries by not sharing those

inappropriately with you

Keep confidential what each of you share

Pursue or accept no new friendships with you, beginning now, for one year following your graduation from

Journey Four, especially avoiding any romantic, dating, or sexual relationships with you

Pray repeatedly for you

Be on time for your Training sessions


You are expected to sign a paper copy of this Covenant for each separate Training Team on which you serve.

Team Preparation Study
Team Preparation Study

Wild At Heart by John Eldredge

"Only when we enter our wound will we discover our true glory.  As Bly says, 'Where a man's wound is, that is where his genius will be.' There are two reasons for this.  First because the wound was given in the place of your true strength, as an effort to take you out.  Until you go there you are still posing, offering something more shallow and insubstantial.  And therefore, second, it is out of your brokenness that you discover what you have to offer the community.  The false self is never wholly false.  Those gifts we've been using are often quite true about us, but we've used them to hide behind.  When we begin to offer not merely our gifts but our true selves, that is when we become powerful.  That is when we are ready for battle."


Ponder, and perhaps journal, the answers to these questions:

  1. Where is my woundedness?  Where is my genius?

  2. In what ways am I still 'posing' -- hiding my true self, the self God created?

  3. Am I offering my true self, or just my gifts?

  4. What do I fear will happen if I reveal my true self?  If I more completely reveal my true self, what do I have to offer to the community?  to the body of Christ?

Romans 8:28-30 The Message

"That's why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.  God knew what He was doing from the very beginning.  He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love Him along the same lines as the life of His Son.  The Son stands first in the line of humanity He restored.  We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in Him.  After God made that decision of what His children should be like, He followed it up by calling people by name.  After He called them by name, He set them on a solid basis with Himself.  And then, after getting them established, He stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what He had begun."


Ponder, and perhaps journal, the answers to these questions:

  1. You have a solid basis with God.  On that solid basis, what do you need to work through with Him in order to have intimacy with Him going into this Encounter?

  2. What kind of help do you need as you work through issues?  Use baby steps and goals.  Take action.

  3. What work do you need to do with others who will be on this Training Team in order to have uncluttered relationships with them as you enter this Encounter?

  4. How are you, or are you not, living as God's beloved?

  5. How will you be ready to extravagantly receive and give grace?

  6. How will you allow yourself to be God's tool in the coming Encounter?

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