It’s been a minute since the Pastors & Dragons Retreat this past summer, but those August days of gaming and learning still stick with me. When I came back from the retreat we had something of an onslaught of funerals that dramatically increased my workload for over a month. Add to that preparing for and experiencing the birth of my first child (and all of our church’s fall programming), and you can see all the ways life and death can interrupt my writing here.
But there are still things to say.
The Pastors & Dragons retreat was a definite success! We had attendees from East Coast, Midwest, and West Coast converge in Minnesota for four days and three nights of gaming and learning together. It was a time of instant community and memories that I’ll enjoy for a long time. But don’t take my word for it – here’s some of what the participants had to say!
“Loved the improv games, they set a good stage of collaboration.”
“I loved the A.C.E. game. It was very good for energizing people and fostering collaboration.”
“I love exploring how our D&D characters reflect us in a variety of ways.”
“Overall it was an amazing value for the money. I would strongly consider doing it again.”
“I loved having some afternoon time to myself to rest and reflect and read.”
“Good for PCs and players!”
“Apocalypse is always fun to think about! Now I have a lot of new ideas!”
“Wished Tiamat to the Far Realm. 34/10 would do again.”
“Awesome! A riot! Enjoyed the experience.”
“As someone who usually has the DM role, it was a ton of fun for me to actually play. I also enjoyed interacting with all the different ministry people and building relationships with people who serve in different theological contexts.”
“Even though I didn’t volunteer, I appreciated the improv exercises. It got me thinking in different ways and was a nice way for us to start to gel as a group.”
“The Noah adventure was on of my week highlights. I loved the adventure as a whole and I loved riding unicorns with NOAH! Amazing.”
“The Managing Group Dynamics session was very helpful for me.”
“Sharing in a variety of theological/denominational backgrounds was helpful to push me out of my ‘Lutheran comfort zone,’ aid me in continuing to think outside the box. Also, the variety of gameplay experience and new encounters was fun!”
“The highlights were the gaming sessions (obviously). I was impressed with how well 12 people around a table could work.”
“All the gaming sessions (+bonus free time games) were awesome.”
“Highlights were playing with everyone. The small group sessions were amazing and so much fun. The large group games were beautiful chaos.”
“The highlight was how D&D was a common language that brought us together. Plus it was a great group of loving people who felt like friends quickly.”
“I had a great time DMing for the first time!”
“Meeting everyone and seeing what pastors’ lives are like. The games were really fun but connecting to people, laughing, and the comraderary and joy was really the best.”
“Level 20 – INCREDIBLE”
“Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful retreat! :)”
“Thanks a million for running this. It was an absolutely amazing week.”
“Being able to think about my personality and see how I play that out in my characters was cool.”
“You couldn’t have picked a better location. Hiking was amazing here.”
“The afternoon free time was absolutely necessary and appreciated! I hate going to continuing ed events where every single hour is programmed. We need time to decompress and do what we want to, even if that was playing more D&D!”
I personally learned a lot from leading this retreat. I echo many of the things said by others, but my main takeaway is that the gaming table is one of the last places of neutral ground where we can come together. This is especially on my mind after our most recent election day where it seems that we’ve seen evidence that our society is only becoming more and more polarized.
Attendees at the Pastors & Dragons Retreat came from across the spectrum of Christian experience and beyond, including non-Christians as well. Leaders from oftentimes antagonistic denominations came together to share and play. Bonds of friendship formed. Community happened.
All that I hear about these days is how divided we are as a people, but at the Pastors & Dragons Retreat we were one people united by our common love for this game that can do so much.
This was only the first Pastors & Dragons Retreat. We are already in the process of preparing for the next one – coming August 2019! You can find more information about our 2019 retreat and sign up by clicking the link below.
Over the next few weeks I will be working on polishing and releasing the adventures that I ran from the retreat. Each explores a part of scripture or themes of faith in an inviting experiential way. I’m excited to share them with a broader community in the hopes of igniting imaginations for how Dungeons & Dragons can be a tool for ministry.
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