"It's what happens along the way"
This 10-day pilot training program for mentor certification trip is the merging of intellectual learning, incorporating best mentoring practices, spiritual formation experiences, and mentoring in pastoring, on location as we walk in the footsteps of Jesus in Israel. Two pastor pods of 12 Vineyard pastors or senior leaders each are invited to join four national-level leaders in (two specified affinities or regions TBA) and Kim Frolander, president of Ruth Israel Initiative & administrator of Well-being of Pastors Initiative on our second pilot program as we begin a 1-year mentor certification program and journey together as we learn to be effective mentors while in the Holy Land. (All this and you'll only miss one Sunday in your city!) Non-training spouses are welcome to come to Israel with you.
Mentor Certification Program
The Kingdom needs great mentors who mentor mentors who mentor. There is no one-size-fits all schedule for learning to mentor others, who in turn will mentor others, but there are some universal guiding principles, and some proven best practices. Top-tier Vineyard pastor mentors have laid out 24 critical topics and skills they are ready to pass on to leaders ready to begin a formal mentor certification training experience in a Be/Know/Do emphasis that emphasizes Vineyard Values. Concepts will be both caught and taught in the same "what happens along the way" mentoring that Jesus used with His disciples as we travel together seeing the places Jesus lived and taught while forging life-long memories and friendships with colleagues. But this Israel trip is only the first 10 days of the program.
For details on the entire 1-year program click here.
The Flexible Itinerary Plan
Stops in Israel are not guaranteed, but this is the ideal plan we've developed. If the Lord is moving (or traffic is not!) we'll tweak the itinerary on the go. Many of the locations below are also links.
Monday, November 6, 2023
Take off from your port city and fly, fly, fly. Perhaps you'll have a fun layover in a European city.
Tuesday, November 7, 2023
Arrive in Tel Aviv (TLV) by 2:35 pm, Israel time. Gather your luggage, exchange some dollars for shekels and meet our guide and bus driver at the Aroma Coffee Shop to the right of the main exit from baggage to the lobby. (Not all the way outside.) We will drive into Tel Aviv to the ancient port of Joppa for a walking tour, with a stop at Simon the Tanner's House. Then we will drive to the coastal city of Netanya to overnight at the Residence Hotel (1 night). Upon arrival you may choose to take a refreshing (read: chilly) swim or walk on the beach or go directly to a delicious all-you-can-eat dinner buffet before bed.
Wednesday, Nov 8, 2023
We start with a bountiful Israeli breakfast with lots of Israeli coffee and fresh juices, pastry, breads, and delicious hot and cold items to choose from (or sample a bite of everything!) We will pack the bus and drive the massive ancient Port of Caesarea and see the Roman Aqueduct that is still standing. (If you haven't touched the Mediterranean Sea yet, you'll have a minute to put your feet in, though not to swim). The we drive west to the Carmel Mountains and stop at the Monastery on Mount Carmel, Muchrakah. With a view of the Valley of Armageddon, we will hear stories of resilience, and of Elijah and the prophets of Ba'al. For a late lunch, we will stop at Kishor Winery for a wine tasting at a fully inclusive residential kibbutz with delicious award-winning wines for us to try. Then we drive up to Nazareth before heading to Mount Arbel for a slow little hiking trek for a first view from a precipice overlooking the Sea of Galilee. Then we drive down into Tiberias to check into our hotel for the night: The Golan Hotel. We will have dinner on site at the hotel (every night). In the evening we will have time to begin hearing each other's stories.
Thursday, Nov 9, 2023
After breakfast we will stop at the Jesus-related sites and towns around the Sea of Galilee. Today will include a Jesus Boat ride and worship experience on the water; the time we are assigned for our 1-hour ride will influence the timing of the rest of our stops which include: a contemplative stop at Magdela, a visit to the place of Peter's Restoration, St Peter's Primacy, and some time to explore the ruins of Jesus' hometown of Capernaum right on the sea. Depending on weather, you'll have an opportunity to be re-baptized in the Jordan River ($15 USD to rent white gown & towel) either today or tomorrow. Both days offer some afternoon free time to begin processing, or sit and stare at the Lake with a coffee, or perhaps brave a swim. Dinner at our hotel. More stories in the evening.
Friday, Nov 10, 2023
After a late breakfast and some free time, we will first go to the Mount of Beatitudes then drive north into the Golan Heights. We will visit Caesarea Philippi ("Who do you say that I am?" site) and have a stair-step hike down to a waterfall at Banias. A Druze snack of a large Druze tortilla filled with fresh cheese cooked in front of you can be purchased on site if you're hungry. Then it is back to our hotel for a Shabbat Dinner together at the hotel.
Saturday (Shabbat) Nov 11, 2023
This morning we pack our luggage after breakfast and drive south toward the Dead Sea. Our first stop is the ruins of the ancient Decapolis city, Bet She'an where there was once a thriving Christian community until an 8th century earthquake froze this city in time. Then we will pop over to put your feet into Gideon's Spring. Then have a picnic (lunch included) there or at Gan Ha Shlosha an Eden-like garden with comfortably warm turquoise swimming hole waters all year round. We will continue south, eventually past Jericho, to our final stop at Qumron, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1947. The last of our day's drive will skirt the edge of the Dead Sea until we come to Ein Bokek resort oasis where we will check into the gorgeous Royal Dead Sea Hotel and Spa after Shabbat has finished. You can go for a Dead Sea float or make your way directly to a dinner buffet.
Sunday, Nov 12, 2023
This morning after a most bountiful breakfast, we will be exploring the desert. We begin at Herod's desert wilderness fortress Masada, and ride the cable car to the top. Then we all head over to Ein Gedi, where David hid from King Saul. We will hike up to David's Waterfall and you can take a little dip in the pools along the way if you choose. From here you can see the desert blooming with life, according to the Word of God. After this we will drive further into the wilderness landscape to enjoy Bedouin hospitality at Kfar Hanokdim for a late lunch and then trek like Abraham on a camel ride through the desert! Then we go back to the Resort to enjoy those amenities and get your Dead Sea float in, if you haven't yet. And end with another amazing buffet dinner at the Royal Hotel.
Monday, Nov 13, 2023
We will have an early morning today as we leave the Dead Sea to head up toward Jerusalem today after breakfast. Our first stop is Our next stop is the Valley of Elah, where David slew Goliath to chat about "Navigating Fear" and maybe pick up 5 smooth stones of your own! Then we will leave a lasting impression on the landscape of the Land of Milk and Honey by planting our own tree in the Israel's ground at Neot Kedumim. Then we will stop for a traditional Arab meal (restaurant menu pricing, not included today) at the home of the best pita in the world at Abu Gosh. (Seriously, they win awards every year!) Then we will arrive at Yad Vashem, the world's premiere Holocaust Memorial and Museum on the outskirts of Jerusalem. After several hours to take it in, we will drive by to give you a view of Bethlehem and perhaps drive by the new US Embassy in Jerusalem to see what all the fuss was about. Then we check into our Jerusalem hotel, and we will actually be staying INSIDE the Old City (my first time!!) at the Gloria Hotel (3 nights) and enjoy dinner and time to explore on your own if you feel like going out.
Tuesday Nov 14, 2023
Today is all about the Old City of Jerusalem, above it and underground! We start after breakfast by climbing up on the ramparts (walls) and making our way around from Jaffa Gate, over the Zion Gate, to the Dung Gate (yep, that's what it is called!). We will stand and learn on the Southern Steps where Jesus once taught His disciples, then walk over to the prolific, active archeological dig, the City of David (in Jerusalem, not to be confused with Bethlehem, the city of David's family) and change into our water shoes to slosh through the Gihon Spring for a kilometer in Hezekiah's Tunnel (video) to the Pool of Silom. We will visit a replica of the Upper Room and take some time with the Holy Spirit there. Then we move to see and hear the history of the Zion Gate, then enter Caiaphas's house, stepping into the cistern chamber (video) where Jesus is believed to have been held awaiting trial. Then we will head back to the hotel for a scrumptious dinner.
Wednesday Nov 15, 2023
Today after breakfast and yummy coffee we start with a ride to the top of the Mount of Olives to take that iconic Jerusalem photo and receive some great teaching on the very spot where Jesus ascended and will return! Then we will walk down the Mount of Olives to the Garden of Gethsemane and Church of All Nations for some silent contemplative time. We will meet our driver again and ride over to experience worship and communion together at the Garden Tomb before stepping into the empty tomb! From there we will have a short walk over to the historic and beautiful American Colony Hotel for a relaxing and yummy High Tea experience. We will return to the hotel after this and you can explore on your own or take a nap before a later dinner. Tonight is our last team meeting where we will pray for, bless, and activate each other.
Thursday Nov 16, 2023
We may have blessed each other already, but we still have a full day of experiences ahead! Today is our final day, so we will need to pack our luggage and load the bus after breakfast, but we will enjoy a 10 AM check out. We will take a walk through the Old City and take some time to pray at the Western Wall (a.k.a. Kotel, or the "Wailing Wall" but please don't call it that, it's derogatory). After lunch and shopping time in the Cardo area, then we will go underground again in the Rabbinical Tunnels. When we come out, we'll head over to Saint Anne's Church and perhaps burst into song in the amazing acoustics in the church. We'll also see the ancient Pool of Bethsaida at this place. We will meander back over toward Jaffa Gate for our finale dinner together. We will have a leisurely time of eating, saying goodbye and debriefing together to prepare you for re-entry. When we are finished, (head to airport by 7:00 pm) (earliest is 11:55pm so a drop off by 8:45 for security protocols) and enroute the tour guide will brief you on what to expect for security.
Exciting details for this Mentor Training Pastors' Trip
We will be in the Land of Israel for 9 nights with 10.5 days of experiencing learning and life and culture together. There is lots of walking involved in this kind tour. We suggest that you start training your body as you train your heart for this trip so you will be able to fully participate in it with your teammates. This trip is personalized for Vineyard pastors who are in mentor training (+ spouses that might like to join in) and limited to 30 people in pastor pods + any spouses, but capped at 50 total people. Each Ruth Israel Initiative Unhurried Pilgrimage trip incorporates spiritual development & formations, prayer activations, spiritual formation exercises, and "Friendship with Jesus" strengthening & deepening at nearly every location stop in the Land, all included in the Spiritual Journey Through Israel journal book that you'll receive.
Be sure to check out all the ways you can start preparing for this life-changing (not an exaggeration!) trip that will cause the Scripture to go from black and white to Living Color forever, as we visit the places and learn mentoring in the spaces where Jesus taught His disciples! B-4 You GO link!
Wondering what to pack for a Fall trip to Israel? Here is a suggested packing list.
What's included on the trip?
9 nights of very nicely appointed accommodation, air-conditioned transportation, driver, tour guide, mentors & training sessions, tour leader, worship leader, whispers (to help you hear the guide), 9 breakfasts, 9 dinners, 1 high tea, 2 lunches, 1 desert camel journey w/ Bedouin lunch, 1 wine tasting, A Spiritual Journey Through Israel book with journal space, and one more book to study ahead of travel. Each person will have a chance to share his or her story (details closer to time).
Not included, but recommended:
Flight, most lunches (plan $10-15/day), insurance (no-commission medical & trip interruption link above), tips for your driver and guide ($3-7/day each), food in transit, and souvenirs. Optional: Jordan River Baptism runs $15 USD on site.
Credit cards may be used; please plan for an additional 3% to cover the fees.
$800 down payment per person due with your application.
$1000 due Feb 1, 2023 per person
$1000 due May 1, 2023 for mentor training
$ 2000 due Sept 1 (or balance on spouse trip) ~60 days before travel.
$ 750 mentoring balance due January 30, 2024.
Plan to purchase your flight ticket as early as Dec 2022, but certainly by July 2023 and send a copy of your itinerary to Kim.
Costs & Payment Plan
10 days in Israel + mentoring certification=$5550 + flight
Israel only (for spouse add-on)=
$3600 + your flight
per person/double occ.
Single-room supplement= $950
$800 down trip payment
$800 + $24 service fee= $824. This is the down payment and may be used for either the person participating in the entire mentor training certification course or the spouse who elects to travel to Israel with the one in training.
$1000 payment for trip or mentoring
$1000 + $30 service fee= $1030. Use this to make additional payments on your trip or mentoring account.
How can I prepare?
(click thru these B-4 You GO links at your leisure)
Prayer Team Building
Talking points to share your trip with your board members
Phone Options to prepare
Meet our trilingual (Ukranian, English & Hebrew) guide: Aharon Levarko. He spent 15 years in Vineyard churches in California before moving to Israel. More detailed bio coming soon.