HOW TO HOST
Moving toward a more authentic, committed, and close knit group of people in the church is what it is all about. When work like this is done in a safe space it removes some of the facades and posing. The church and the individuals in it benefit greatly from a tighter and more welcoming and forgiving community.
The Development Foundation for Small Group Ministries wants to help you host an Iron on Iron weekend with twelve weeks of follow-up. You will find below what is involved in hosting Iron on Iron: what is expected of you and what we will do to make this happen. Once you determine that you want to plan a weekend, and you believe you can provide the local assistance required, contact us using the information found in the Contact section of this Web site.
The ideal size of a retreat is twenty-four participants and seventeen staff, for a total of forty-one men. A retreat with twenty-four participants results in six work groups, each of which includes four participants and two leaders from the team. Twelve of the seventeen staff would be work group leaders with twenty-four participants. Two staff members serve as “platform leaders,” who introduce most of the processes during the retreat and seek to keep the flow of the weekend on a loose time schedule. Two more staff members are involved with materials and logistics and are responsible for making sure the required materials for various processes during the weekend are where they need to be when they need to be there. The remaining staff person serves in an “elder” or “spiritual elder” role. While the ideal size of a weekend is twenty-four participants, we have learned great experiences can be had with groups of 12-28 participants. Larger or smaller groups are not encouraged.
Facilities and Cost
Typically, local leaders will secure the use of a camp or retreat center for the event. Requirements for the site include sleeping quarters for thirty to forty-five and an adequately sized conference room where much of the activities of the weekend take place. A conference center that can provide meals is preferred, although providing a self-serve breakfast (muffins, fruit) and lunch (sandwiches and chips) along with a catered dinner is an option.
The cost of the retreat facility and meals are the two largest expenses of hosting an Iron on Iron weekend retreat. Other costs include the printing of the downloaded materials provided to staff and participants alike, some material costs for items needed during the weekend, and the insurance that most retreat facilities require users to carry. Depending on the cost of the retreat facility, we have found that total costs typically range from $125 to $175 per person, so the required fee to break even is the same amount. All staff and participants typically pay the same fee in order to keep the cost down. One of the few stipulations for using the Iron on Iron protocols is that the program not be used to generate a profit. No additional fee is paid to any organization or individual. In this sense, the Iron on Iron materials are “free” to use by qualified groups.
How to Promote Your Weekend
Promotional materials for use in recruiting participants and materials for the follow-up will be provided to qualified groups. While the weekend retreat is the “kick-off” event, participants who experience an Iron on Iron weekend are encouraged to attend twelve follow-up meetings. These meetings are designed to further explore some of the processes experienced during the retreat and to facilitate the formation of an enduring small group of men who share the bond of having experienced an Iron on Iron weekend. Participants who complete the twelve-week follow-up meetings are then able to serve on a team to sponsor a future Iron on Iron retreat.
It is strongly recommended that at least two people with considerable experience be included as leaders on the team. Considerable experience means having served on at least three to five Iron on Iron retreat teams. It is further suggested that at least one of the two staff in each work group be fairly experienced, having served on at least two to three teams previously. The Development Foundation for Small Group Ministries can assist in providing these experienced team members, if they are not available locally, and we can help with organizational assistance to plan your Iron on Iron retreat.