Let’s Talk: The “Secrets” of Tres Dias

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CHAIRMAN’S BLOG | June 16, 2024

No REALLY!!! Let's TALK about the secrets of Tres Dias.

The conversation usually goes like this - "Hey, I'd love to sponsor you to attend a three day Christian retreat!" Then the questions start... "What happens during the three days?" "What's it all about?" "Tell me more!"

And that's when we pull out the SECRETS card. "Oh - I can't tell you everything. But, just believe me...it's so awesome. I'll pick you up and take you to Send off. You'll ride a bus to a camp up in the mountains, and the weekend will be filled with cool surprises." *wink wink* .... and on and on it goes.

For 50 years, Tres Dias has been trying to walk back from the idea that the weekend would be better if it was presented as a "wonderful surprise". And after 50 years, we continue to create anxiety, hesitation, doubt, and mistrust more often than we create excitement in the person we are inviting by not taking the time to explain the purpose of the weekend. In today's culture, where we google Everything, before we trust Anything, you don't have to scroll far to read that Tres Dias is a "Church Busting Cult", or worse!

When Joan and I were the pre-weekend couple on the Secretariat several years ago, we would talk to candidates before placing them on a weekend. I can't count the number of conversations we had with candidates who were hesitant to attend a weekend because of the questions left unanswered by sponsors. Many times, the candidates were not fully committed to the weekend because of the secrecy and the anxiety it caused.

I know for me ... every weekend I serve ... I am just as moved from the Serenade as the first time I witnessed it as a candidate. And I am just as touched by the palanca I find on my bed, in the form of a letter or bag of "Rolo" chocolates, as I was when I sat at the Table of Matthew on Men's #51 and watched as the Palanca Chas continued to deliver mounds upon mounds of Mounds Bars.

Those "surprises" still have the same effect after 26 years, as they did the very first time. So why do we put so much emphasis on the SECRETS instead of on the purpose of the weekend!?

I would like to encourage you to share more about the weekend instead of less. Create an expectation that will encourage the candidate! Your conversation with your candidate might sound something like this:

"Would you like to take three days away from the distractions of the world? There will be talks from people just like you and me. You'll see the grace of God lived out through the team as they serve you. And you will learn how to go back into your environments ... your home, church, work, and recreation and serve others - as you have been served. There will be times of laughter and times for reflection. There will be Chapel services throughout the weekend and wonderful times of worship. The food is great ... and best of all, you'll have opportunities to meet new friends and develop relationships that could last a lifetime. If you are interested let me know, and I'll answer any questions you may have. I would love to have the blessing of sponsoring you for a weekend."

I promise you... I have never had anyone respond by asking me if there was going to be palanca, or if they will be sung to on Saturday night. But if someone were to ask me ... I would tell them. Because even if they knew ... Holy Spirit will still work in their lives.

We have just completed a wonderful set of weekends! And I have recently attended the first team meetings of the upcoming men's and women's weekends that will be held in August. In a world where darkness continues to grow, the light of God shines bright through the tool of Tres Dias! Who do you know that may benefit from three days with the Lord, growing in His love and grace!?

Joy and Alan Coffey from the Secretariat Pre-Weekend Team have done an amazing job putting together a detailed document of how to be a successful sponsor. I hope you will read the attached and consider the Blessed Responsibility of Sponsorship!!!

De Colores,

Tim Kiger
Chairman, TDNG


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