Professional Development

Materialize your Passions, Fulfill your Dreams,
Shepherd your People

There is a massive divide between
what you have and what you want

We Can Help You Close the Gap

You'll know we can help if you struggle with...

Hitting the same roadblocks, setbacks, and obstacles

Feeling like you’re not sure what to do and the conventional wisdom has proven false

Conflicting priorities that have stalled your missional effectiveness

Missed opportunities, fading passion, and unfulfilled dreams

Lack of a cohesive vision that pulls your people together

Insufficient resources—both personal and financial

The tension between growing a church and actually creating healthy disciples

Doubt about your calling, your faith, or your suitability for Christian ministry

Ministry after the pandemic is frustratingly complex, and the absence of trustworthy guidance, strategy, and tactics amplifies these challenges. Good news: you don’t have to do it alone. We have created the world’s first headquarters for innovation in Christian ministry, where the best people do their best work…people just like you. We can help you put together an incredible team, a gameplan for the future, meaningful experiences in worship, and the necessary architecture to continue growing your people and your church.

At the Fossores Chapter House
You'll Experience

Creativity. Camaraderie. Clarity.


Level-up your ministerial capacity through any of our 6 transformations.


Deepen your experience of faith and expand the quality of your dreams. Enjoy a holistic environment where you will collaborate with others to strengthen your service to Christ, his Church, and his world.


Get access to the absolute best resources on leading your team, utilizing your gifts, and unleashing the talents of your people.

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!

Upcoming Professional Retreats

Who's This For?

You know your people, and you know the pain of your community. Let us help you transform that pain into meaningful, forward-looking, faith. Our retreats will help you get past the fame-chasing stage of development, leading you to become a prophetic professional, accurately bringing scripture to bear upon the challenge of our times.

We will help you enliven your ministry with cultural, personal, and relational clarity.

We Focus On:

We recognize that God is first revealed to us as a Creator, and immediately sets to work creating Creation. We believe human beings are the pinnacle of Creation and we have been made by God to be like God. As has often been said, “The Creator created creators to perpetuate Creation.” Thus, we were made to make.


"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 ministry that feels more like business-as-usual than a provocative cooperation with God; or, if you still have as-of-yet unfulfilled noble ambitions, sacred fantasies, and holy dreams then I can help you rekindle your fervor and reengage your calling with fresh fire.

I love working with people who care, doing work that matters forever.

If that’s you, you may have just found your tribe…

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:

The Fossores Chapter House is designed to cultivate joy in ministry. We enliven the dreams of preachers, leaders, and innovators because enliven pastors inspire people and inspired people heal the world.

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