Overview: This 8 session (16 week) workshop series will explore through conversation, stories, and direct experience some of the varied ways God has given us to sense his presence including feeling God, hearing God (directly and indirectly), and seeing God (directly and indirectly). We hope these workshops will encourage and inspire each of us on our lifelong journey of broadening and deepening our awareness of the God who is always with us. All who feel drawn are welcome to join for some or all workshops in the series. There is no required fee (though contributions are very welcome) and no previous experience is needed. Please see the additional description, guidelines, and logistics below.
Dates: Starting Feb 15, 2:30-4pm Chicago (Central) time and meeting every other Tuesday for a total of 8 meetings.
This will be Feb 16 and on every other Wed morning if you are in Australia.
(More exact dates and times below.)
Additional Description: When you think of all of the ways we can sense the presence of a beloved friend what comes to your mind? I encourage you to pause for a moment and see what comes to mind. Perhaps hearing their voice and seeing their face, or feeling their presence and holding their hand, or even receiving a letter or a homemade gift from them, or seeing the ongoing effect of some good work they have done. While I have never met Mother Theresa, simply reading a story about her brought me to tears and changed my behavior and mood for the better. People’s presence is powerful and we have been given many ways to take it in and recognize it both directly and indirectly.
God wants an even closer relationship with us than our closest earthly friend and, I believe, has given us even more ways to sense him than we have to sense one another. In some ways God’s presence often seems to feel gentler, lighter, less dense (for lack of a better word) than the flesh and blood physical bodies of our friends requiring activation of our more relational and spiritual set of senses. In other ways God is more fully present, closer to our hearts, minds, and bodies, and more capable of relating to us in a range of ways than any human could be. Often we sense God indirectly coming through the smile of a friend, an unexpected gift, the laughter of children, or the gentle humming of small creatures on a quiet afternoon. Other times we sense God more directly through any number of senses including and beyond feeling, hearing, and seeing. Of course God does not force anyone to be aware of his presence; yet in my experience the more open we are to sensing him, the more fully he may be found found by us in any moment and even in any memory of our lives. I trust that during this series God will meet many of us both in the familiar ways we have come to expect and in new ways we may not have previously imagined possible.
Workshop Dates and Titles:
Workshop 1: Introduction to Sensing God’s Presence Series (Feb 15/16)
Feb 15, 2:30-4pm Chicago time (CST)
Equivalent Feb 15, 8:30-10 pm London
Equivalent Feb 16, 6:30-8 am Eastern Australia Brisbane | 7.30-9am Melb/Sydney
Workshop 2: Tasting, Touching, Smelling God’s Good Gifts. (Mar 1/2)
Mar 1, 2:30-4pm Chicago time (CST)
Equivalent Mar 1, 8:30-10 pm London
Equivalent Mar 2, 6:30-8 am Eastern Australia Brisbane | 7.30-9am Melb/Sydney
Workshop 3: Feeling God’s Presence (Mar 15/16)
Mar 15, 2:30-4pm Chicago time (CST)
Equivalent Mar 15, 7:30-9 pm London
Equivalent Mar 16, 5:30-7 am Eastern Australia Brisbane | 6.30-8am Melb/Sydney
Workshop 4: Hearing God Through Someone or Something. (Mar 29/30)
Mar 29, 2:30-4pm Chicago time (CDT)
Equivalent Mar 29, 8:30-10 pm London
Equivalent Mar 30, 5:30-7 am Eastern Australia Brisbane | 6.30-8am Melb/Sydney
Workshop 5: Hearing God Directly (Apr 12/13)
Apr 12, 2:30-4pm Chicago time (CDT)
Equivalent Apr 12, 8:30-10 pm London
Equivalent Apr 13, 5:30-7 am Eastern Australia Brisbane | 5.30-7am Melb/Sydney
Workshop 6: Seeing God In and Through Created Things (Apr 26/27)
Apr 26, 2:30-4pm Chicago time (CDT)
Equivalent Apr 26, 8:30-10 pm London
Equivalent Apr 27, 5:30-7 am Eastern Australia Brisbane | 5.30-7am Melb/Sydney
Workshop 7: Seeing God Directly (May 10/11)
May 10, 2:30-4pm Chicago time (CDT)
Equivalent May 10, 8:30-10 pm London
Equivalent May 11, 5:30-7 am Eastern Australia Brisbane | 5.30-7am Melb/Sydney
Workshop 8: Conclusion, Conversation, and Closure (May 24/25)
May 24, 2:30-4pm Chicago time (CDT)
Equivalent May 24, 8:30-10 pm London
Equivalent May 25, 5:30-7 am Eastern Australia Brisbane | 5.30-7am Melb/Sydney
Below are a few guidelines to help the group feel as safe and connected as possible. Each person’s presence really matters in the group and these are some things that can help us all care for each other and be present to each other.
- Everything is optional: to promote a sense of safety all exercises are optional and voluntary.
- Respect confidentiality: unless someone is in danger of harm, or you have been given permission by the person to share, we ask group members to keep personal sharing by others confidential.
- Lean in lean out: If you tend to talk a lot, try to hold space for those who are more quiet, and if you tend to be more quiet you may try to lean in and share a little more. Try if possible to listen to your gut sense about what the Holy Spirit may is encouraging you to share or keep within your own heart.
- Please be caring: People tend to do really well with this one.
- Please call in from a private room/space where other people will not be listening in or walking by as this can feel uncomfortable for other participants who may be sharing vulnerable things.
- Please don’t drive while on the call.
Over time our workshops have developed a solid culture of welcome, safety, connection, and freedom to flow with God’s Spirit. Our main expectations are simply that we be caring toward one another, create space for one another, and remain open to what God’s Spirit is doing. We look forward to the honor of your presence.
Facilitator: Andy Ross
Format: Workshops combine both full group teaching and debrief and smaller break out groups of 3 or 4 people for practice times. Each workshop will be 90 minutes for the content and exercises with an optional additional 30 minutes at the end for sharing stories and reflecting on our experiences from the exercises.
Participants can register for one, multiple, or all sessions.
Cost: Free/Suggested $15-30 voluntary donation per workshop. There is no obligation to give though contributions are greatly appreciated and help free up our time to do these workshops, create training material, and subsidize training groups for those who can’t afford the normal rates. You will see an option to make a gift when you register or you can always access the donate page.
Prerequisites: No previous experience needed. Please invite your friends.
Recording: Note that we record teaching and full group discussion portions of some of our workshop to use as training resources for people who were not able to attend the workshop. Break out rooms will not be recorded. Please email or contact us within a week of the workshop if you would like us to remove you or any comments you want removed from the edited version of the training video. Click here if you would like to read more about our thoughts and practices regarding recordings.