As I drove into the familiar parking lot at King’s Fold, I didn’t really know what to expect arriving at my first CREST AB10 Encounter. I’ve been to King’s Fold on multiple occasions, which is actually how I found out about CREST, but always for personal retreats and not to purposefully meet new people and attend a course or program. Meeting new people always causes a bit of stress for me, as I tend to be more of the “raging” introvert (as opposed to the “raging” extroverts who thrive on this sort of thing). However, I made a point ahead of time to step out of my comfort zone and make the most of meeting new people, considering I’m going to be journeying with them for the next two years.
Prior to the first Encounter, I was to complete some homework, which included Digging For Gold where I was to spend time reflecting on my own life. This reflection was used to create a Decadal Timeline charting the ups and downs of my life. This chart proved to show some interesting aspects of my life:
- how God has moved in my life
- the purpose and direction of my life
- that I have a story, and it’s worth telling
I was surprised to discover the number of ups and downs that I did have and saw patterns I didn’t see before. By seeing these ups and downs and the patterns, I can change my beliefs. The next step was to identify the choices I had made because of the interpretations of my experiences that formed my beliefs, and if I change the interpretation of my life experiences, I can change my beliefs, which will help to make better choices.
Part of the CREST program is about providing practical tools that help you go through life. This first Encounter provided these tools I can actually use in my every day life:
- The Experience Cycle
- Setting rules for my life
- And my favourite, The Cornerstone Journal, a quarterly productivity journal (I admit, I’m biased on this as I developed it and was invited by the President to test in the CREST program)
Even just reading the assigned books was eye-opening to where I had been and where I’m going.
As it turns out, meeting the people journeying with me through CREST was great. We all come from different backgrounds: culturally, vocationally, ministry, and yes even denominationally. CREST is focused on ensuring what happens throughout the program remains confidential with those who are attending and asks that each student respect a covenant of confidentiality. This helps to ensure it doesn’t take long to get to know each other, especially as the first half of the Encounter focuses on our Story where we complete our Decadal Timeline and share them with each other. The theme of this Encounter is, after all, “Taking a hold of your life: What does your story tell you about your life today and where it’s going.” It didn’t take long to get to know people, between sharing our stories, sitting around talking at meals and even playing Bananagrams!
I look forward to the journey I will be taking through CREST and doing it with others. It will be interesting to see how God uses both CREST and the people in my cohort to shape who I become to flourish in my second half.