Personal Development

Our Retreats Cultivate Meaning,
Wholeness and Abundant Life.

Why Attend A Personal Development Retreat at the Chapter House?

We combine the practical and the theoretical, allowing our guests to experience the best ministry, camaraderie, and resources on Christian spirituality. This is the place where God will speak through visions and insights. It is an incubator for your intuition. It is a breeding ground for your future. It is a hyperbaric chamber for your soul.


Rev. Dr. David McDonald guides each retreat along a carefully designed pathway to facilitate spiritual growth and transformation. He is focused, supportive, knowledgeable, and kind.


Connect meaningfully with mentors, proteges, and peers who share their spiritual insights and experiences.

Transformational Experience

You will be irrevocably changed. You will become familiar with the nudges and nuances of the Spirit. You will learn how God speaks to you, through you, and because of you as you engage the world.

Upcoming Personal Retreats

Our Retreat

The Fossores Chapter House

505 Wildwood Ave, Jackson, MI 49201

Part monastery, part workspace, the House has places to pray and places to play, places to study and places to collaborate. Every space has been lovingly curated to provide a divinely creative atmosphere.

Built in 1888, this 8200sq. ft. Queen Anne Victorian has been fully renovated to create this one-of-a-kind House of Gothic Glamour. We prioritize beauty, functionality, and spectacle so every guest has their breath taken away.

There’s nothing else like it in the world—no other place set aside specifically to create, to dream, and to press aggressively forward into your development. Nowhere. And we built it for you!

How can you tell if our Personal Development retreats are right for you?

Are you frustrated with organized religion but still clinging to God?

Do you want tools and strategies to integrate your faith into real life?

Are you seeking deeper connection with other believers and spiritual seekers?

Do you want to explore new means of expressing your spirituality?

Do you need guidance on how to overcome obstacles, difficulties, and challenges?

Are you searching for proven strategies to handle stress and reduce anxiety?

Do you want to learn better ways to pray, to meditate, and to discern the will of God?

Are you curious about how to make sense of the Bible in contemporary culture?

Do you want to incorporate your faith into your work, your family, and your leisure?

Retreat pricing

Personal Retreat

$ 599
  • Retreat Sessions
  • Resource Room
  • Networking
  • Meals and Open Bar
  • Q&A Sessions
  • Bonus Swag
  • Bonus After Hours Gathering
  • Bonus 1-on-1 Personal Integration Meeting

Professional Retreat

$ 799
  • Retreat Sessions
  • Resource Room
  • Networking
  • Meals and Open Bar
  • Q&A Sessions
  • Bonus Swag
  • Bonus After Hours Gathering
  • Bonus 1-on-1 Personal Integration Meeting
*Overnight accommodations to stay at the Chapter House are an additional $99/night.


"I visited the Chapter House as a stranger and came away with friends. You can go to a conference for the masses or retreat into the woods. Or you can join a houseful of pilgrims, around a table of great food, curated atmosphere to arouse curiosity, and rich conversation about the tension and opportunities within reach. This is some of THE BEST hospitality and leadership I have found in 25 years of ministry!"
Dave Sunde
Pastor, Mission Hills Church
"The Chapter House provides incredible opportunities to gather with other pastors and leaders to learn, dream, and problem-solve. I have been encouraged and challenged, especially by the kingdom perspective that Dave McDonald brings as he gathers people from all different faith traditions and aspects of ministry."
Kaye Kolde
Bishop, Free Methodist Church USA
"The Chapter house brings together Pastors and ministry leaders from different walks of life and denominational views to help create a ministry think tank. The "treasure chest" of ideas deposited and experiences shared enables ministry leaders to go back to their respective areas with new and fresh insights."
Fred Parker, Jr.
Senior Pastor, Kingdom Life Ministries

Hi! I'm Dr. David McDonald

I’ve been a pastor for 30 years as well as a college professor, seminary lecturer, author, and storyteller. My work has been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Time Magazine. I began Fossores Innovation and Design, my coaching and training network, to enliven the dreams of preachers, leaders, and creatives.

If you’re tired of a thin experience of faith, frustrated by the impotence of religion and the shortcomings of a traditional approach to ministry, I can help you deepen your understanding of God and broaden your expression of Christian spirituality.

I love exploring the deep reservoirs of Christian history and tradition. We find all manner of meaningful practices and insights among the odds and ends of God’s attic, and the more we grow in our faith the more useful these become.

Questions You May Have

A “fossores” is species of sand wasp, and was used in reference to clergymen during the Roman persecution of the church much like we might crudely refer to someone as a cockroach. Because Christianity was an outlaw religion, pastors were often forced to take inconspicuous day jobs. Many became gravediggers. By day, Fossorians would suffer the scorn of the public while working backbreaking labor for low pay. But at night, they would use the newly excavated gravesites as houses for worship, smuggling in their brothers and sisters for church in the catacombs. After the services ended, the Fossorians would stay up and pray, decorating the tombs with symbols and scriptures, prayers and pleas. Then they would sleep in the presence of sacralized death, dreaming of God’s plans to heal the world. They practiced the undifferentiated wholeness between their art, their work, and their faith. The original Fossorians model that our vocation and calling and identity are inextricably mixed. Today, we pick up where they left off in hopes of honoring Christ with all we are permitted to create.

Each retreat begins Friday night at 6pm in the Parlor. After our initial sessions, we conclude Friday’s events around 9:30pm. Saturday we resume at 8:30am and continue until approximately 9:30pm that evening. There is no pre-work or homework after the retreat; however, Dr. McDonald will make several recommendations to each participant to maximize their experience.

Yes. In addition to the 60min coaching session offered in “Retreat Plus” (see above), Dr. McDonald is available for private coaching and consulting for $350/hr or $1000 for 3 hours. You can register for a coaching session or package here:

This is a difficult time for pastors in the USA. Our best estimate is that 1/3 of all American pastors resigned during the pandemic, and the latest research demonstrates that 42% of all remaining pastors still consider changing vocations monthly. Now more than ever, pastors need peer support, expert guidance, and the camaraderie afforded by the Chapter House. If you would like to support our ministry to pastors, you can do so by making a donation here:

Book Your Retreat Today!

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