One of the biggest factors for me at Touchstone was a journey to explore my emotional awareness and health. Even those of us in ministry with the best upbringing still have patterns and wounds that affect how we live each day, and some to more degree than others. It may sound off-the-wall but my biggest discovery was realizing just how messed up I really am! But then I also experienced the love and healing of God through it. This kind of freedom has invited me into a whole new relationship with God and it has proven to open a deeper season of ministry in the way that I approach people. In fact, I don't see how we can have a ministry of setting people free from their sin and past if we ourselves haven't experienced it. I'll never be the same.
I also learned some categories to think through that will guide my overall health spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally. I'm more aware of the complexities of leading myself and how to change course before I hit a wall.
- Steve ‘09 Cohort
The greatest impact Touchstone has had in my life is to provide a place of personal and spiritual discovery. The encouragement to do deep soul searching in a sage environment with other ministry leaders is invaluable. Peers and friends to process with and those who are older to provide guidance, hope, honesty, and permission to be real about life and ministry is rare.
- Brett ‘09 Cohort
I think you should consider taking the Touchstone journey because the best investment you can make in your family and ministry is to invest in yourself. Not in a selfish way, but in a way where you put yourself in a better position to lead yourself toward health and effectiveness. The greatest regret would be to turn around in mid-life and realize there are things you could have done differently when you were younger that would have saved years of pain. But it requires the commitment in time and finances, plus the courage to open yourself up to whatever God has for you even if it might be painful or challenging. Many guys shy away from that challenge but I encourage you not to.
- ‘09 Cohort
I have been able to pull away from the daily ministry I am in and take some time to look deeper into my life and my walk with Christ through the Touchstone journey. Having older men and women surrounding us during the journey has allowed some great opportunities to dialogue about my personal discoveries and to be mentored by godly people who have taken a true interest in my life. The time away and alone with God has been truly profitable for my ministry, marriage and my own well-being.
- Kurt ‘09 Cohort
During my journey at Touchstone, the Holy Spirit really connected a lot of past hurts that have shaped me. The lifelong implications of personal understanding cannot be overstated. Working through 'the dark night of the soul' and 'death of a vision' were and are significant experiences for my ministry future. Having a safe place to be real about life and ministry is unspeakably healthy. Having peers to journey through it and 'those who have gone before' to assist and they themselves be real is amazingly refreshing. Truly, Touchstone, it's tools, exercises, disciplines, and relationships are long-term, life forming.
- ‘09 Cohort
A leader should consider Touchstone if they want older men investing in them, if they want designated time to get away and focus their life, marriage and ministry, and if they want to develop lasting friendships and unity of brotherhood (Psalm 133:1) then this is one of the best ways. Seminary is great and beneficial in regards to theological education, but when it comes to what Paul says “follow me as I follow Christ,” (1 Corinthians 4:16) as these older men are investing all they have into you. It is an holistic approach to investing in the next generation. I would recommend it to anyone who is seriously considering making a lifelong impact for the Kingdom.
- Levi ‘09 Cohort
Touchstone has helped me discern where I should be focusing my time and energy and has given me some tools to use to evaluate what I'm doing in life so that I can be more focused and more productive in the future. It has helped me develop some strong spiritual foundations that I'm sure will bear fruit for years to come.
- Nathan ‘09 Cohort
Any leader who has sought after a powerful opportunity to grow as a person and to do it under the leadership and mentoring of a great team of older men and women should consider the Touchstone Journey. The prayer, the conversations, the mentoring, the teaching and the personal times have all been helpful in my personal development and in my ability to lead in my home and in our church.
- ‘09 Cohort
Touchstone is the first encounter that I've had that took my life/ministry experience, education, relationships and self-assessment and bundled them all together for the common purpose of developing my intimacy with God, intimacy with others and to hone my calling to the Kingdom. The result of this journey has been increased intimacy with God, my wife and children as well as my friends both inside and outside of ministry. I have also gained a unique sense of calling as to my giftings to advance the gospel.
- Nick ‘09 Cohort
Many go getter, type “A” personalities so often neglect the “me” and charge right into the “we”. Most of us have a few barriers deep within us that affect the view of our self or our view of God. These barriers we’ve camouflaged and covered so well, we don’t know they even exist. Touchstone helps in exposing them and creates an environment for the scalpel to evenly divide Spirit, soul, joint, and marrow. Additionally, there needs to be a renovation in the hearts of our paid and lay leaders. My mentors are not on to some new fad or latest methodolatry to do church. Truth be told, the American model of church is ineffective and unbiblical. Touchstone heralds a return to biblical leadership, ecclesiology, and Christology.
- AJ ‘09 Cohort
Touchstone brought me back to simple truths of what God desires to do in and through my life. In the midst of ministry with all its complexity and hurry it’s easy to lose sight of the foundational disciplines that enable us to minister in the power that God supplies. I think we as leaders can take this for granted; and when we do the result will be nothing less than a powerless, self-exalting ministry. Because of Touchstone I am able to see myself more clearly for who I am as an adopted son of God and as a called leader. I now know that I am not called to ministry, but I am a called person that ministers. I have a deeper sense of destiny for my family and my life.
- Charlie ‘09 Cohort