As great as learning from other pastors at large group conferences can be, we cannot underestimate the equally important time spent simply getting away from it all, either by yourself, with your family or spouse, or among a group of other pastors needing some time to unwind themselves. Pastors’ retreats have become a fairly large ministry of late, no doubt due to the increasing stress and responsibilities individual churches seem to be piling on their pastors. No matter what your preference in lodgings or locations, there is indeed a pastors’ retreat option out there for you to give a try this year. Consider these different than just a summer family vacation. Christ-serving men and women around the world have established retreat centers planned to serve you and your family and provide for you a time and place to refresh and hear God’s voice anew again in your life.
Here are a few of the many great options out there to try out. Some cost more than others, and some are merely donation-based. But all are intended to allow you to be the one being served for a change and to reenergize yourself for the next stage in your ministry.
Where: Mountains of East Tennessee
Cost: please visit website
Why here: Whether you’re looking for fellowship, rejuvenation, or adventure, Elijah’s Harbor offers you shelter from the cares of the world so you can focus on building your relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. The Harbor is a place for pastors, couples and young people to come and get renewed physically, emotionally and spiritually. They offer those in ministry a break from the welcomed burden that comes with leading a church. Successful pastors are on hand to serve and mentor guests and their families so they leave recharged and ready to return to their flocks.
For more information: www.elijahsharbor.com
Life Impact Ministries:
Where: Multiple locations in several countries and continents
Cost: Donations only
Why here: Life Impact offers hosted places of rest and retreat (called Oases) for International Workers, Pastors, and other Christian leaders. They also provide their ministry guests with other Care Services, like confidential coaching, when they visit an Oasis. Each Oasis is hosted by a qualified couple or single and takes on the “flavor” of that Host’s gifts, calling, and experiences. Their Oases are open to Missionaries, Pastors, Humanitarian Aid workers, and other Christian leaders who need a personal retreat to gain physical, spiritual, and emotional strength while processing unresolved or crucial issues if desired.
For more information: www.lifeimpactministries.net
Where: Genesee Valley, California
Why here: Genesee Home is committed to building up church ministry by enriching the lives of Pastors and Missionaries. To that end, they will serve the local church by providing a mountain valley retreat center where Pastors, Missionaries and their spouses can be refreshed, restored and renewed through time with God, and with one another. Genesee Home is a safe haven where Pastors and Missionaries can reflect upon their calling and rekindle their relationships with both God and their spouses.
For more information: www.geneseehome.org
Where: Colorado, Tennessee, and New York
Cost: Between $1,495–$1,995 per couple/single, depending on time of year
Why here: SonScape’s weeklong, guided retreats have helped thousands of pastors, missionaries, parachurch leaders and spouses balance the demands of life, family, and ministry and rekindle their passion for serving Christ and His church. At SonScape, you will: Gain insights about yourself and develop personal strategies to help you flourish in your next season of ministry; learn from their veteran staff retreat leaders; experience their proven retreat model that combines solid teaching, meaningful group discussion and individual coaching sessions with retreat leaders, while having time for rest, reflection, and prayer.
For more information: www.sonscaperetreats.org
Where: Multiple locations throughout US and abroad.
Cost: Depends on site location. Currently between $469-$599 in US locations.
Why here: Timothy Barnabus offers two nights and three days specifically designed for pastors and their wives to be instructed and encouraged so that they can live out their calling in the local church. A Timothy Barnabas retreat is somewhere that a pastor can come expecting to have fun and relax with his spouse while both are being inspired and encouraged. Timothy Barnabas invests in today’s pastors reaching pastors from small churches, large churches, healthy churches & broken ones. They reach pastors who are full-time in the ministry and the pastors who are bivocational holding down another full-time job.
For more information: www.timothybarnabas.org
Family vacations are great. Holidays with extended families are always fun to be a part of too. But be intentional also to find a way to get away either alone or with just your spouse to one of the many different pastors’ retreats options found around the world. Look for one today that would be a good option for this year. You will not regret it.
Kevin Harvey is the author of two books, his most recent being All You Need to Know about the Bible in Pop Culture. He also writes at BibleInPopCulture.com and can be found on Twitter under the handle @PopCultureKevin.