-September-October 2014 issue

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 In This Issue

The President's Letter


Each year we do a survey of all our communities to determine the assessment each community owes. This past year we modified the formula so it would be based on new pescadores instead of active members. This was done for two reasons. First, to establish the assessment level based on a number that is auditable, and second, to measure the health of our communities. If a community reports a significant drop in new pescadores, compared with prior years, it raises a red flag that the community may need attention.

     At about the same time as the change in assessment, we developed what we refer to as training modules for  new community startups. We realized the activities described in the modules could also be used to bring new stamina to established communities. We announced in this newsletter and also at International Secretariat meetings, that we had help to offer: Help in the form of money from our Tres Dias Fund, and help by applying some of the ideas in the new training modules.

     We were delighted when South Hudson Tres Dias called and asked us for help to revitalize their community. I asked our VP of Membership, Frank Yarbrough, and our Executive Director, Paul Weis, to visit with South Hudson and explain what we had to offer.The majority of ideas from the training modules represent what we have observed as "best practices" used by strong communities. They are not part of the Essentials, and as such, we offer them as suggestions.    

      At our Assembly in Atlanta, I invited Marjory Amatos from South Hudson to describe what happened at their meeting. "Our committee was so on fire after Paul and Frank left," Marjory reported, "And we started making changes almost immediately." Secuelas became open, she explained. The requirement that new Pescadores cannot be on team for one year was struck from the policy manual. New positions were added to enhance the team. A Facebook page with 30-second testimonials was created. Most important, there were to be no more "secrets" about what happens on a weekend.

     Frank Yarbrough added a postscript to the report: "You taught us as much as we taught you. It's about communities working together."

     Many other suggestions were made at the meeting, more than can be covered in this brief letter. If your community needs rejuvenating, please just give us a call, and we will sit down with your group and share this menu of suggestions.Who knows, your struggling community might just grow and blossom with the full color and fragrance that testifies of the new life God has breathed into it.May God richly bless you for all the great works and testimonies each of you present, as you serve Him in this great ministry.


In His Service,

Bruce Cato



   A "Best Practices" article

Sponsoring--The Lifeblood of Tres Dias

By Jan Coleman 

"I'm not a giant in the world of sponsoring," said Milt Underwood, as he opened the sponsoring workshop at the TDI Assembly. But as the current chair of Georgia Mountains Tres Dias, he is well aware that, "While God is the lifeblood of any community, the other lifeblood is a healthy sponsorship program."

     There was no argument from the group gathered that afternoon. We were there to glean tips on a better approach to sponsoring.

     "Is economy the blame of poor sponsorship?" Milt asked us. Probably not, we all agreed. "What has more to do with it," he said, "is that we don't put enough effort into it, and we don't teach our people the right approach. Anything you want to learn to do well, you must put an emphasis on it."

     If you look up "sponsor" in the dictionary, it's first defined as "someone who takes a responsibility for someone or something." It was the second part of the definition that shook Milt a bit: A person who teaches and guides someone in religious or spiritual matters. "To me that puts a deeper meaning to sponsoring. It means I'm taking responsibility for that person's religious or spiritual walk."

     Milt motivated us to enlarge our views of sponsoring. If the purpose of TD is to develop leaders, it's the sponsor's duty to guide the candidate through all three phases of Tres Dias: pre-weekend, weekend and 4th day. And it's the community's job to train pescadores to sponsor correctly. We assume people naturally know. We fall short when we simply mention sponsoring for a few minutes at sequelas or team training and then say, "Go get 'em."

      "Have a plan for sponsoring," Milt emphasized. "God can work with a plan---a good one or a bad one, but one thing he can't do is---work with no plan."

     I came away with these nuggets from the workshop:


     Train, train, train. Consider holding sponsorship training, where new and seasoned pescadores come together and receive instruction on the basics of inviting people to a weekend; the "who," the "how to," and the "how not to." It's such a priority in the GMTD community that they set aside 20 minutes during sequelas to talk about sponsoring. "At a sequela," Milt says, "You'll get the most active pescadores. And it's the best chance of having new people there." It's the new, excited pescadores who can't wait to share the experience with others, but if they don't know the basics, they'll struggle.

     Sponsorship is relational. Start with your realm of influence, with people that you know and love. We have no business sponsoring strangers. As a sales person, Milt knows that, "Until I have a relationship with you and know your needs, I won't be able to sell you on Tres Dias." Know your candidate and share your heart.

     Spin in right: It's important to put a positive spin on what you're trying to promote, so share how Tres Dias grew your faith, stretched you, changed your priorities, improved your prayer life. Never say, "You need this." What the candidate hears is, "He thinks I'm deficient somewhere." Instead, say, "You deserve this." It's all in how we approach it. And don't go overboard or pressure. It scares people away.

Offer to help the persons who you sponsored, to sponsor others. Go with them to meet prospective candidates. They won't be as nervous when there is somebody on hand to answer questions and provide clarity.

     Encourage your community to create a sponsorship guideline packet. Put something in pescadores' hands. Make sure training resources are readily available in print and on the community website. Google "Tres Dias sponsorship guidelines," and it will bring up communities that have sponsorship guidelines. You can select ideas from each one, and form a training module unique to your community. Make sure Pescadores get it.

     Cut out the nonsense and secrecy. Secrecy has become a tradition. There's nothing in the essentials that says we can't talk openly about our experiences. Tell the men, go home and love on your wife, and tell her everything: the 15 talks, the discussions, the chapels, the worship, anything else she needs to know. It's better to anticipate than wonder. Some people agree to go on a weekend on blind faith, but most won't risk trusting you if they think you're holding something back. If Tres Dias sounds like a secret society, they'll be highly skeptical. Cults have secrets. Tres Dias doesn't.

      As current president of the community, God has led Milt to get back to the basics. It's what we were all encouraged to do that day. To get prepared, knowing God will honor our preparation.


 Georgia Mountain TD was created out of North Georgia and hosts three sets of men's and women's' weekends each year, plus one weekend for single women weekend. A full weekend for GMTD is 42 candidates.


** Some communities use the term "pilgrim" instead of "candidate."
News and Announcements from the Assembly 

 Election results for new officers and secretariat meters are as follows:

Officers Elected

OFFICE                                        NAME                        COMMUNNITY              STATE

President                                Bruce Cato                     North Georgia                Georgia

Executive VP                          Chuck Allen                    Trinity Valley                  Texas

Financial Secretary                 Sue Loveland                 Mid-Hudson                   New York

VP membership                      Frank Yarbrough             CSRA                            Georgia


The 10 Members Elected

          NAME                                       TRES DIAS COMMUNITY                    STATE

1.     Mike Bible                              Middle Tennessee                              Tennessee

2.     Paul Markowitz                      Northern New Jersey                          New Jersey

3.     Jeanne Norwood                   New Hampshire                                  New Hampshire

4.     Dennis Matthews                   Southeast Tennessee                        Tennessee

5.     Barbi Langdon                       Vermont                                              Vermont

6.     Ned Heffington                       Birmingham                                        Alabama

7.     Dennis Farkas                        Lehigh Valley                                     Pennsylvania

8.     Julie Bohl                                Fairfield County                                 Connecticut

9.     Beau Bruce                             North Georgia                                    Georgia

10.  Adele Smith                             Music City                                           Tennessee



Next Meeting of the International Secretariat


Oct 10-12, 2014

Hosted by  Northern Virginia TD

Grace Community Church  9560 Linton Hall Rd, Bristow, Va 20136


Hotel Accommodations:  Comfort Suites Manassas*

7350 Williamson Blvd, Manassas VA 20109

Cost: $95 +tax


*An apology from the Editors: Our copy for preparing this issue of the newsletter came in late, and the deadline for reserving rooms at the Comfort Suites was September 15. Rooms may still be available if you call immediately. 



On Marketing Tres Dias
Giving the candidate brochure a new spin



By Don Bohl

As the Tres Dias Fairfield County secretariat was preparing to rewrite its candidate brochure, the marketing professional on the board gave the editorial team a short but effective lecture.

    "Your brochure is telling the reader a lot about the weekend and answering common questions, but it doesn't answer the reader's most important question, "What's in it for me?'"

      He went on to use a baseball metaphor. To get the candidate to first base, you need to sell the benefits. After that, personal witness and other print materials can bring the candidate around the bases.

     The team took the words to heart, and the final copy relies heavily on the ad writer's knack of talking directly to the reader, using the "you" pronoun. For example, the brochure opens with a question in the headline, "Want a Closer Walk with God?" and answers the question with these words:


Any improvement in your life begins with a conscious decision on your part. Growing closer to God is no different. Attending a Tres Dias weekend can be that conscious decision. Regardless of where you are in your faith walk, once you actually set out to move closer to God, He will draw nearer to you.


The brochure goes on to tell the reader that "You will meet and learn from other believers from many different churches who share in the mutual love of our Lord" and "you will find yourself being drawn into a closer relationship with Jesus Christ."

     In describing what happens on a weekend, the reader learns that "there is a series of talks," and "Each talk reveals how God has affected the speaker's life in a deeply personal way. You will learn from their insights, struggles and triumphs as you reflect on your own faith journey."

     True, each pescadore's life is a walking advertisement--the best possible ad for Tres Dias. But the ad man's point is convincing: we first need to grab the potential candidate's interest before we provide a personal description of what the weekend meant and answer questions about the details--why there are separate weekends, cloistering, and so on.

      The brochure will be printed in time for the fall weekends. We'll let you know how it plays.




In the meantime . . .
Following Fairfield County TD's lead, the International Secretariat's Services Committee is preparing universal brochures that will be suitable for all communities to use. One brochure will be geared for individual prospects, a separate one for clergy, pastors, and churches. Plans call for making these available by January 1, 2015.

And it's not too soon to think about 2015 Annual Assembly, when representatives from every community worldwide will join together to praise the Lord

The International Secretariat is currently laying the groundwork to make the 2015 Annual Assembly a landmark event, the first time in Tres Dias history that delegates from all chartered communities will gather together in one place. Because this involves planning on a global scale, your community will soon receive a letter asking you to mark the dates well in advance and explaining how financial support can be provided to those communities, including those overseas, that may not have the resources to send a delegate.

The dates are July 10-12, 2015. Abundant Life Tres Dias and Northern Illinois Tres Dias will co-host the event.




Future Meetings
March 13-15, 2015: SecretariatNorth Florida TD (Tallahassee area)

July 10-12, 2015: Assembly & SecretariatAbundant Life TD & Northern IL TD
October 2015 (dates TBD): SecretariatTBD
March 4-6, 2016: SecretariatTampa Bay TD (location TBD)



The Colors of Tres Dias International is published by the Services Committee of the Tres Dias International Secretariat.  Don Bohl and Jan Coleman are co-editors. Ned Heffington chairs the committee and serves as associate editor and proofreader.
Ned also deserves credit for creating and maintaining the Worldwide Map.
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