What Is Tres Dias?
Tres Dias is a Christian ministry that revitalizes Christian men and women in their walk with Christ by encouraging them to:
- Impact their home and work environments for Christ
- Maintain their own relationship with Christ through small group sharing
- Return to their home churches with a renewed desire to be a Servant Leader.
- Most attendees are Protestant although all Christians who accept the Tres Dias “Statement of Belief” are welcome.
What Does Tres Dias Teach?
We focus on God’s unqualified love for each of us through grace, with the goal of coming away from the weekend with a refreshed and empowered relationship with God through Christ. Importantly, Tres Dias does not “teach” doctrine. In fact, we try to stay away from doctrinal discussions/debates; choosing instead to stress the things that the Christian denominations have in common while respecting those things which are different.
Why should I attend a Tres Dias weekend? I’m already doing ministry and have a strong walk with the Lord. I don’t feel that I need a “spiritual retreat” since my church offers many opportunities.
There are many types of retreats available to Christians of all denominations; the vast majority of them are wonderful. If the retreat offered by your church has the same primary focus (experiencing God’s unqualified love for each of us through grace; coming away from the retreat with a refreshed view of your relationship with God through Christ; and showing your increased support of your local church), then perhaps there is no need for you to attend a Tres Dias weekend.
By the same token, one question to consider is: What impact would a solid 72 hours spent in communion with Jesus through the Holy Spirit have on your spiritual walk. Obviously only you can answer that question. In any event, why not give it a try – After all, it’s only a weekend!
What Does Tres Dias Believe?
The Tres Dias “Statement of Belief” corresponds to the historical beliefs of the Christian Church. Click here to view the Tres Dias Statement of Belief: http://tresdias.org/statement-of-belief/
What will I get out of this weekend that will compensate me for giving up an entire weekend, the financial cost, risk the wrath of my spouse, and possibly put my job at risk by taking off on a Friday?
It’s difficult to address what someone will “get” out of a weekend, since the Holy Spirit will deal with each person differently, depending on their needs and their Walk. But at the very least, you’ll walk away with the experience of 72 continuous hours spent in a cloistered environment with other Christians, all focused on learning more about their own relationship with Jesus. In the end, you are the only one who can evaluate if the result is worth the effort.
Why is a Tres Dias weekend 3 days? Can’t it be condensed into 2 days to make it easier to attend?
Tres Dias has been designed to allow an appropriate amount of time for learning, praying, singing, contemplating, sharing and (of course) eating. As it is, the 3-day schedule is very full, so it would be difficult to achieve the same in less time. For instance, there are 15 “talks” on the weekend given by lay team members and spiritual directors along with 5 meditations given by spiritual directors; each of which build on the previous one. Eliminating any of those talks would negatively impact the end result.
What happens on the weekend?
It’s very difficult to describe a weekend and still capture the dynamics that occur. Each weekend includes talks by Lay and Clergy speakers, group discussions, sharing, jokes, laughter, singing, communion (if you wish to partake), and prayer time in both group and individual settings. Every weekend includes at least two Spiritual Directors who are available for counseling and prayer as needed.
I cannot make a Thursday evening, so can I come on Friday instead? By the same token, I’m a pastor and need to go to my church on Sunday. Can I leave on Saturday night?
The answer to both of these question is generally ‘no.’
- The activities of Thursday evening are very important in setting the stage for the rest of the weekend. As such, participation is very important. Of course, last minute emergencies happen, so exceptions can be made in those cases, but they tend to be very infrequent.
- Pastors who attend a weekend are encouraged to have someone else take over their preaching responsibilities, similar to when they might be away on a weekend for vacation. Obviously, emergencies can occur that require a pastor (or any participant) to leave the weekend early. In those cases, the person will be considered to have not completed the weekend. They would be eligible to return on a future weekend. However, no one should attend a weekend planning to leave early.
Why do most Tres Dias communities require the husband to go first?
It’s not an absolute requirement of Tres Dias that men attend first. However, the majority of Tres Dias Communities have adopted this policy because experience has shown that if the wife attends first, it can be detrimental to the marriage.
Often, the wife has a closer relationship with Jesus than the husband. Many husbands have stated that they were there because they had to attend, in order for their wife to come. (Very often, the wives are the ones that really want to attend, so the husband, out of love, will attend so that she can). If the wives were allowed to come first, many husbands would never attend. If the wife grows even closer in her relationship to Christ on the weekend, a significant gap may develop between the husband and wife. In those situations, the weekend that should be a blessing, could become an obstacle to the marriage.
My husband adamantly refuses to be a believer and even refuses to go to church with me. Can I go?
In most cases, the answer is “yes!” Each community has its own policies about how to handle exceptions, but it would be unusual for a community to not make that exception in this case.
I’m a police officer, can I keep my weapon (concealed)?
Tres Dias does not have a policy concerning this, so it is left up to each community to make that determination for themselves.
Should I bring my bible?
You certainly can, but it’s not required. In most cases, any scriptural references will be shared in writing. However, if you find it more comfortable to have you own Bible with you, then we encourage you to bring it.
Do I have to pay for the weekend?
Although there are no paid staff within the Tres Dias communities, there is a cost associated with every weekend: Facilities, food, supplies, insurance, etc.; all cost money which the local community has to absorb. Each community calculates its own costs for participants as well as for team members.
Having said that, Tres Dias feels that lack of funds should never be a reason for someone not to attend a weekend. As such, most communities have developed mechanisms to support those participants who might need financial assistance.
I’m Catholic, so will a priest be giving communion? Can I leave to attend Mass and then return?
Catholics are welcome to attend a Tres Dias weekend as a participant and/or as a team member. Also, Catholic priests have, on occasion, served as a spiritual director on a Tres Dias weekend. However, worship services, which include Communion, are celebrated in the Protestant tradition. Catholics may receive Communion during this worship service, or if they do not wish to receive, may instead receive a blessing from the presiding Spiritual Director.
No separate Mass will be offered for Catholics. However, some communities hold their weekends in facilities owned and operated by Catholic orders. If Mass is offered either before the Tres Dias activities of the day – or after the end of activities of the day, the Catholic participant or team member may attend that Mass.
Nevertheless, participants and team members are expected to be in attendance for all activities for the entire day for all three days of the weekend. If someone chooses to leave a weekend early, they will be encouraged to return on a future weekend where they can participate the entire time.
Are there accommodations for people with special needs?
Many special needs can be accommodated.
Each community will have their own protocols since the physical capabilities of the facility will often dictate what accommodations can be made.
I have a special diet. Can you accommodate that?
Most communities will try very hard to accommodate special diets required by medical conditions, such as a gluten free diet for Celiac Disease, diabetic diets, etc.). Diets that are simply a preference (such as weight loss diets, general food preferences, etc.) will generally not be accommodated. Each community will have its own policies concerning food service, so it’s best to check.
Will I have to “spill my guts” and share my feelings if I don’t want to?
Absolutely not! Although there will be a considerable amount of personal sharing during the weekend, particularly by the speakers, no pressure will be placed on anyone to share anything that they do not want to.
I snore; so can I have a private room?
This is another issue that each community has to address, depending on its facilities. Some communities utilize dorm setups whereas other have private or semi-private rooms. In any event, it’s not unusual to have participants (and team members) who snore, use CPAP machines for Sleep Apnea, or make all sorts of noises and sounds in their sleep. Some communities routinely hand out ear plugs on Thursday evening, just in case!
I like to take afternoon walks and run in the morning. Will I be able to do those things?
Assorted short breaks are provided in the course of the weekend, so that would be your time to use as you wish. As far as running in the morning, we ask that you schedule it so that you’re finished (and showered) in time for the first scheduled activity.
How can I find a sponsor if I don’t know anyone who has been through Tres Dias?
If there’s no one in your church who has attended, you are encouraged to contact the Leader of your local community. All of the communities have web sites that provide contact information. They will help you with this.
Are you a cult?
This is perhaps the most important question to ask. It is important that you be comfortable about with whom you’ll be spending a 3-day weekend.
If we can step back in history, the early Tres Dias participants felt that the weekends were such a blessing that they didn’t want to spoil what, to some of them, were very special parts of the weekend.
As a result, people began referring to “secrets” within the weekend that were not to be discussed with potential participants – again, for fear of ruining some of the weekend. Over time, and particularly with the advent of the Internet, stories of secrecy began to spread, resulting in rumors that Tres Dias must be a cult, since secrecy is one of the hallmarks of a cult.
Much effort has been made to be completely open. In addition, we know that team members who have participated in multiple weekends are just as blessed by the weekend activities as those who are participating for the first time. While some individuals continue to mistakenly perpetuate the idea of secrets, there are no secrets in Tres Dias.
In the interest of full disclosure, “The Essentials of Tres Dias” has been posted, for at least a couple of decades, on the Internet for anyone to see and review. CLICK TO VIEW THE ESSENTIALS
“The Essentials of Tres Dias” is the document that every Tres Dias community must adhere to in order to continue in Tres Dias. As you review the Essentials, you’ll note that each of the talks, the required meditations, the dynamics, etc. are all listed for anyone to see. There are no secrets in Tres Dias.
In addition to the Essentials, communities are free to add some additional activities that are simply designed to enhance the weekend. Below is a list of the majority of these additional activities.
This list contains activities that many participants thought should be kept secret for fear of ruining the surprise. But the reality is that these are simply fun activities that enhance the weekend experience. (And as noted earlier, team members who have experienced them in the past still look forward to them). So again, no need to keep them a secret!
NOTE: These activities are not ALL utilized by all communities, but all communities will incorporate one or more of them into the weekend schedule with the goal of providing a special blessing to the participants:
- MANANITA or SERENADE: A special time on the weekend when folks from the community come in to sing some songs to the participants.
- AGAPE: A special time when a previously undecorated room is transformed into a room full of lights and associated with special sharing
- FORGIVENESS SERVICE: There are many variations on this, but most involve some activity in which you privately evaluate your relationship with Christ and anonymously post your issue or obstacle. There is no requirement to participate in this, but those who do often find a special release in letting go of something they’ve been holding on to for a very long time.
- SKITS: Usually very light-hearted and fun. Some communities even provide costumes and equipment.
- PALANCA: Short written notes of encouragement
- DE COLORES: A Spanish term for “Of the colors.” It has three primary applications on a Tres Dias weekend:
- The concept of the many colors of Christianity and how beautiful it is when Christians are brought together in unity;
- A salutation often used when writing to someone else involved in Tres Dias;
- The name of a silly song that we sing on the way to meals.
OTHER SPANISH WORDS: Since Tres Dias had its origins in Spain, certain Spanish words are used to describe some of the events that occur on a weekend. This is a small effort to maintain a connection with our heritage.
YOU GET THE IDEA: These activities are not part of the Essentials, but are designed to create a comfortable environment to allow the participants to be open to whatever the Holy Spirit may have for them. There is nothing sinister, doctrinal, or evasive; just some fun or meaningful activities.
I understand that I have to take off my watch and/or give up my cellphone during the weekend - Why?
Participants (and team) are asked to take off their watches and to not use their cell phones, although they can certainly keep them with them if they are more comfortable that way.
There are several reasons for this:
- One of the mottos of Tres Dias is “Participate, Don’t Anticipate!” The weekend is designed to “unfold.” It is best to be “in the moment” rather than trying to anticipate what’s coming next.
- In today’s culture, we are all so socially “connected” that it’s getting very hard to “disconnect” from our devices, and many of us losing the ability to stay focused without them. This is simply a desire to help participants to take a break from all that – and to concentrate on Christ.
- Asking participants to try to avoid looking at their watches or using their cell phones, simply helps to create the environment where the Holy Spirit can minister without distractions like of ringing cell phones.
If a participant is going to have undue stress, they can certainly keep their watch and cell phone with them. All we would ask is that they not use the cell phone for business purposes or in the proximity of other participants, and it should not be visible to others as to be a distraction.
What about confidentiality? I was told that nothing that occurs on a weekend can be shared after the weekend is over. What are you afraid of
That’s not true at all! Any activity that occurs on a weekend can be shared freely. All that we ask is that nothing of a PERSONAL NATURE that was shared on a weekend should leave the weekend.
– In many cases, the speakers will share some very personal and intimate aspects of their lives. They share their stories with the understanding that it won’t become gossip.
– By the same token, other participants many choose to share something personal, so we owe it to them – and to you – to honor the confidentiality of personal sharing.