By Gordon Quimby
So, you are a brand new pescador coming off of a terrific Tres Dias weekend. You’ve had a three-day introduction to Tres Dias but you are not feeling well-versed as to what Tres Dias actually is. You know Tres Dias is good – you just aren’t sure how it works.
So the question is: What is it you should know about Tres Dias?
The first thing you should know is this: when you’ve just come off a weekend, you still haven’t experienced the best that Tres Dias has to offer! In fact, you have just scratched the surface. As the Essentials of Tres Dias put it:
The Weekend is a tool of God, not an end in itself. The Weekend will not produce a permanent effect without Fourth Day activity.
The Essentials go on to say:
The purpose of the Weekend…is to prepare individuals for effective participation in the Fourth Day.
Many think that the purpose of Tres Dias is to put on three-day weekends. After all, isn’t the name of the group Tres Dias? But the Essentials clearly say otherwise… the purpose of the three-day weekend is to prepare people to participate in the fourth day, their Christian walk after the weekend.
Tres Dias seeks to bring people to a closer walk with our Lord Jesus Christ, to build leaders for the local church, and to empower people for apostolic action. You can’t expect to make a significant impact in all these areas in just three days. The Essentials make it clear that this is to be done in three phases, referred to as the preweekend phase, the weekend phase, and the fourth day phase. Together this is called the Tres Dias Method.
The essential parts of the preweekend phase are that candidates have a desire for a closer relationship with their Lord Jesus Christ and that they be sponsored for participation in all phases of the Tres Dias Movement.
Remember, Tres Dias is not just about a three-day weekend! The sponsor makes sure the candidate is prepared for the weekend and that any special needs are met, then continues the support during the weekend, through palanca and by being there for the person at the closing. Being away for three days can put a strain on the candidate’s family, and the sponsor will often seek to lessen the strain. Then, as the person enters the fourth day, the sponsor encourages the new pescador to attend secuelas and to be a part of an active reunion group.
There is much the Essentials have to say about the weekend phase. These Essentials are vital in assuring the success of the weekends, but strangely enough, this is not really important for to you know now, as a new pescador just coming off your weekend.
So let’s move on to what is most important to you now: the essentials of the fourth day phase. This is where you have the opportunity to experience the best that Tres Dias has to offer. This begins with being a part of a Reunion Group and is reinforced by attending Secuelas, the two primary aspects of the fourth day phase. Reunion groups take on many forms. The principal form is a small group that meets regularly; participants discuss how they are living lives of piety, study, and action. My first group took a different format. It was a monthly men’s group, larger than a typical reunion group, with a rotating leader who would be the speaker for the month. Some groups are based on Bible study, but many would say the classic piety, study, and action format is the more meaningful.
Secuelas are one of the great gifts of Tres Dias. They offer an opportunity for the community to come together for an evening of joy, to be inspired by a witness talk, to break into small groups to share, and finally to join back together in sacred worship. Secuelas are uplifting evenings that fill our spiritual gas tanks as we prepare to return to our individual ministries.
While reunion groups and secuelas are the two items spelled out in the essentials of the fourth day phase, they by no means represent all the fourth day has to offer. It is also essential that the community support each Tres Dias weekend. Here in Fairfield County; we do this through writing palanca, offering prayer palanca, singing at the mananitas, and attending closings.
When you actively support weekends in this way, you learn firsthand how it is more blessed to give than to receive. Many feel the absolute BEST that Tres Dias has to offer is serving on a weekend team. It is essential that each team meet before the weekend to form its own loving community and to prepare for the weekend itself. These 8 to 10 meetings enable you to learn from and become close to twenty other leaders from other churches you may never had met otherwise. But that is just the warm up; it is the opportunity to give of yourself in service on the weekend itself that is truly a life-changing experience. Serving on team is also the primary way that the community builds leaders for the local church. When you serve on a team, you will be empowered for greater service in your local church. No question about it.
Finally, as you come off of your weekend, you should know that you are now a part of a local community. This community offers many other opportunities to grow as a leader. It is essential that the community be led by a central body that assures the successful completion of the community’s activities. The board of the secretariat is where this takes place and while membership on the board is an elected position, many have learned that the best way to learn about Tres Dias is just to show up at the monthly meetings.
So there you have it; everything you wanted to know about Tres Dias but were afraid to ask!
Editor’s Note: Gordon is a member of the Tres Dias Fairfield County community and has served in various positions, including president. This article is one in a series of three he wrote on the Tres Dias Essentials.
Category : Community Tips, Newsletter
by Mark Hill
But in your hearts, set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.
I Peter 3:15
Before I can invite anyone on Tres Dias, there are a couple of things that I need to know and do. I need to pray that God would show me how to make a friend, be a friend and bring that friend into a closer relationship with Christ. That may or may not happen through Tres Dias. Remember: no one needs Tres Dias, but everyone needs Christ!
Next, I ask myself several questions. First, can others see the hope I have in Christ? Am I prepared to tell them what Christ has done in my life? Then, can others see my passion and love in participating in Tres Dias? Can I explain to others what the Tres Dias weekend has meant in my life?
Before I went on a Tres Dias weekend, I was living my life for myself. I was a Mechanical Mike in my worship and a Phony Phil outside my church group.
My weekend showed me how passionate Christ was for me, how I wasn’t passionate for Christ. I saw that I was taking God for granted and not living a life as an Ambassador for Christ. I had not fully understood and accepted God’s grace and love.
So now I am passionate for people who were like me and my generation, and those are the people I like to invite. I don’t want anybody in my church, family and friends to be like I was — lost in a phony world made of masks. I want them to know Christ and know him intimately.
So whom do I ask? Well, hopefully, prayerfully and through the power of the Holy Spirit, people can see Christ in me and ask me why I believe. When they do ask, I have an opportunity to invite them to Tres Dias. But I will invite most anybody who has a basic belief and understanding of Christ, no matter how mature or immature their walk may be. However, one must remember, Tres Dias is not a cure all for emotional, marital, mental or monetary problems. Only Christ is!
My approach varies, but it is always casual and natural, and based on the principle: Wear your love for Christ on your sleeve and be an Ambassador for Christ through Tres Dias.
The TRES DIAS Movement endeavors to bring Christians to a closer, more personal walk with their Lord Jesus Christ and encourage them to Christian leadership and Apostolic Action in their environments. TRES DIAS is based on the principles, the method, and the teachings of the Roman Catholic Cursillo movement initially proposed by Bishop Juan Hervas, Eduardo Bonnin and their fellow Christians.
Each candidate goes through three phases of the TRES DIAS movement: the pre-weekend, the three-day weekend, and the Fourth Day. TRES DIAS is a Christian interdenominational movement.
"The founders of the Cursillo movement saw a world of great need around them. They knew that the answer to the needs of the world had to be Christ and His Grace; but...they saw Christians who did not live for Christ, and they saw a church that was... ineffective and without life. They developed the Cursillo to meet part of this problem: to provide any part of the church which was ready to undertake the formation of Christian life with all the people it needed -- people who would have the deep dedication to Christ and to bringing all peoples to Him -- people who would undertake a regular program of formation in Christianity, and who would make their Christian life conscious and vital -- people who would understand how to be part of a unified apostolic effort."²
The main teaching of TRES DIAS is God's unqualified love for each of us through grace. It asks each member of the TRES DIAS community to grow in their personal piety, to study God's Word and other Christian writings and to express their love for Christ in Christian Apostolic Action.
These three aspects of Christian growth are stressed in the cloistered environment called, "the weekend". An invitation is issued during the weekend for each Pescadore to join a small group of his/her own choosing for continued support, prayer and encouragement.
In order to ensure consistency and stability within the TRES DIAS Movement, there must be certain essential aspects to which all TRES DIAS organizations conform. These Essentials fall into two categories: those which are quantitative and those which are qualitative in nature. It is the intent of TRES DIAS to use both of these categories as criteria for chartering local secretariats.
It should therefore be the policy of local secretariats to comply with these Essentials. Policies of local secretariats which deviate from these Essentials must be reviewed on an individual basis and are subject to the approval of TRES DIAS.
2.0 The Essentials of the Movement
1. TRES DIAS is a Christian movement. The ultimate objective of the TRES DIAS Movement is to strengthen and extend the Body of Christ. No TRES DIAS organization shall change the teachings or practices of the TRES DIAS Movement to accommodate the participation of non-Christians.
For the purpose of these Essentials, "Christian" is intended to refer to those who are seeking a closer relationship with Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
2. TRES DIAS is a Christian interdenominational movement. All TRES DIAS organizations shall actively seek the participation of persons from all the Christian denominations in their environment. All TRES DIAS organizations shall stress those things which the Christian denominations have in common and respect those things which are different. All TRES DIAS organizations have the duty and the authority to protect the TRES DIAS interdenominational structure.
3. TRES DIAS is a lay led movement. TRES DIAS is a lay led movement; however, the active participation of the clergy is both essential and to be encouraged.
4. TRES DIAS is a non-profit movement. TRES DIAS organizations should pursue prudent fiscal policies. They shall avoid accumulating assets beyond what is required to carry out their part in the TRES DIAS Movement.
5. The TRES DIAS Movement shall not assume the role of a denomination. TRES DIAS is not a church-substitute; rather, it encourages Christians to worship and serve in their home congregations, as leaders.
6. TRES DIAS is not a service organization. The TRES DIAS movement encourages Pescadores to participate in "worthy projects". TRES DIAS organizations shall limit their activities to those related to carrying out the TRES DIAS method.
3.0 The Essentials of the TRES DIAS Method
1. The three sequential phases of an individual's involvement shall be: The Pre-weekend phase, The Weekend phase and the Fourth Day phase.
2. The objective of the Pre-weekend phase is to prepare individuals for participation in the Weekend.
3. The purpose of the Weekend, in terms of the method, is to prepare individuals for effective participation in the Fourth Day.
3.1 The Essentials of the Pre-Weekend Phase
1. That the candidate be sponsored for participation in all phases of the TRES DIAS Movement, rather than just the Weekend.
2. That candidates be sponsored by a member of a chartered TRES DIAS community or a similar community approved by TRES DIAS.
3. That candidates have a desire for a closer relationship with Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
4. That candidates be accepted from all Christian denominations.
5. That candidates be at least 21 years of age. However, if a local secretariat, using its best judgment, finds a sound and compelling reason (such as spouse of a pescadore, or military personnel), it OCCASIONALLY, on a case by case basis, may accept a candidate who is at least 18 years of age.
6. That candidates have not previously made a TRES DIAS weekend or a similar experience recognized as equivalent by TRES DIAS.
3.2 The Essentials of the Weekend Phase
1. That the weekend have the following characteristics:
A. It is a weekend of living in Christian community involving a combination of carefully developed activities and teachings which are meant to lead to a fuller personal commitment to Christ.
B. It embodies personal witness, but it is not a revival meeting.
C. It employs group dynamics, but it is neither sensitivity training nor group therapy.
D. It employs theological instruction that encourages the candidate to study his/her own Christian beliefs, but it is not a course in doctrine.
E. It includes a period of silent introspection, but it is not a retreat.
F. It is a renewal experience for Christians and is not necessarily a conversion experience.
G. It asks for basic faith, openness and a seeking attitude on the part of the candidate, but involves a great amount of dedication, prayer and careful planning on the part of the team.
H. It is an encounter with the Holy Spirit. However, TRES DIAS is not a "charismatic" movement.
I. The weekend is a tool of God, not an end in itself. The weekend will not produce a permanent effect without Fourth Day activity.
2. That the Spiritual Directors be qualified to teach and counsel in spiritual matters.
3. That at least one of the Spiritual Directors on the Weekend be ordained and be authorized to regularly celebrate Holy Communion by his/her denomination.
For the purpose of these Essentials, "clergy" is intended to refer to those persons qualified to serve as Spiritual Directors.
4. That men and women attend separate weekends. The Spiritual Directors are exempted.
5. That team members represent a spectrum of Christian denominations.
6. That team members have previously made either a TRES DIAS Weekend or a similar experience recognized by TRES DIAS.
7. That the Rector be a lay person and be responsible for all aspects of the weekend, under the authority of the local sponsoring secretariat.
8. That the team meet prior to the weekend to: promote community, receive instruction on the dynamics and critique all the Rollos.
9. That the TRES DIAS weekend be an intensive three-day program lasting approximately 72 continuous hours.
10. That the team and candidates live in a cloistered environment for the entire weekend.
11. That lay-talks not be given by clergy, and Spiritual Director talks not be given by a lay person.
12. That the weekend begin in the evening with the following agenda: Introduction given by the Rector start silent retreat to end after chapel the next morning KNOW THYSELF meditation, given by clergy PRODIGAL SON meditation (or alternatively, on a women’s weekend, the Hosea-Gomer account as recorded in Hosea 1-3, or the account of the woman caught in adultery, as recorded in John 8:1-11), given by clergy.
13. That the first day of the weekend have the following agenda:
THE THREE GLANCES OF CHRIST meditation, given by clergy
The IDEALS rollo, given by a lay person
The GRACE rollo, given by clergy
The CHURCH rollo, given by a lay person
The HOLY SPIRIT rollo, given by clergy
The PIETY rollo, given by a lay person.
14. That the second day of the weekend have the following agenda:
The FIGURE OF CHRIST meditation, given by clergy
The STUDY rollo, given by a lay person
The SACRAMENTS rollo, given by clergy, followed by Holy Communion
The ACTION rollo, given by a lay person
The OBSTACLES TO GRACE rollo, given by clergy
The LEADERS rollo, given by a lay person.
15. That chapel visits by each table occur the afternoon of the second day.
16. That the third day of the weekend have the following agenda:
CHRIST'S MESSAGE TO THE PESCADORES meditation, given by clergy
The ENVIRONMENTS rollo, given by a lay person
The LIFE IN GRACE rollo, given by clergy
The CHRISTIANITY COMMUNITY IN ACTION rollo, given by a lay person
The REUNION GROUPS rollo, given by a lay person
The FOURTH DAY rollo, given by a lay person
The Apostolic Hour, The Closing
17. That chapel visits by each table occur the morning of the third day.
18. That table discussion follow each rollo except the FOURTH DAY.
19. That all rollos and meditations follow the dynamics and outlines authorized by TRES DIAS.
20. That the team and candidates have the opportunity to celebrate Holy Communion each full day of the weekend.
21. That a diversity of environments and viewpoints must be attempted in planning the weekend itself and in forming the tables.
22. That the freedom of self-determination of each candidate be respected.
23. That the lay rollos be informal talks of a witnessing or sharing nature.
24. That a friendly creative Christian environment be developed and fostered during the TRES DIAS weekend, as opposed to a coercive or manipulative environment.
25. That the schedule allow time for informal personal contact among the team and candidates.
26. That the Closing be as well prepared as other activities of the weekend.
27. That the sponsoring secretariat encourage the community to participate in the weekend through spiritual and service Palanca.
3. The Essentials of the Fourth Day Phase; The Pre-weekend and Weekend phases are only a prelude to each individual's Fourth Day.
1. Reunion Groups
A. That local secretariats encourage Pescadores to participate in Reunion Groups.
B. That local secretariats utilize the form of the reunion group known as "The Working Reunion Group," to carry out the activities of the TRES DIAS Movement.
A. That local secretariats sponsor regularly scheduled Secuelas; preferably at least once each month.
B. That each Secuela include an opportunity for Pescadores to participate in the form of reunion group known as "The Floating Reunion Group."
C. That each Secuela include a "Fourth Day Talk."
4.0 The Essentials of the Local Secretariat Organization
The function of the local secretariat is to conduct an effective program in accordance with the TRES DIAS Method.
That each local secretariat have a document, approved by its membership, describing its structure and operating procedures.
That the members of a local secretariat have completed a TRES DIAS weekend or a similar experience recognized by TRES DIAS.
All Pescadores of the TRES DIAS Community whom the local secretariat claims to represent must be eligible to serve as voting members and officers of the secretariat.
That the local secretariat have a plan for the periodic election of new members.
The local secretariat must be the sole sponsor of a TRES DIAS weekend held in its community.
Each local secretariat must sponsor at least two TRES DIAS weekends a year. For the purpose of chartering, this requirement may be waived by TRES DIAS.
1. Although the three-days are referred to as "the weekend," the three days of the "TRES DIAS Weekend" need not include Saturday and/or Sunday. The "TRES DIAS Weekend" may be held on any three consecutive days of the week.
2. Adapted from TRES DIAS, NOTES ON METHOD, STRUCTURE, AND DYNAMIC: March 1974
The Essentials of Tres Dias
July, 1980, Poughkeepsie, New York
Revised: October, 1984 | January, 1986 | January, 1993 | October, 1994
Copyright 1995 by Tres Dias, Inc.