A pastor's retreat is a short time away from the demands of ministry. It can be as short as one day or as long as four or five. Under normal ministry conditions I think a pastor needs two retreats a year. When things are more stressful in your church or his own life, your pastor may need to get away every month if just for an afternoon!
that I believe they should be a
budgeted part of a pastor's salary.
Why Pastor's Retreats Are Important
- Refresh. Pastors frequently work about 60 hours a week. Meetings and phone calls last into the late evening. Hospital visits and urgent phone calls can start about six in the morning. Your pastor rarely works fewer than six days a week... have you ever wondered why he has one day off? Ministry may appear easy but when done well is exhausting work. Pastors need times when they can get away and sleep in, take a casual walk in the woods, or read a non-ministry related book while lying on a recliner.
- Renew. Pastors need to renew their minds. Physical fatigue is usually accompanied by mental fatigue. They also need time to renew spiritually. Pastor retreats allow your pastor to renew his body, mind and spirit.
- Recover. Your minister is involved in many stressful circumstances. He is doing crisis marriage counseling, ministering to a family whose newborn recently passed away, and trying to create peace between quarreling church members, In addition, he may have stress at home you don't know about. A pastor retreat gives him the perfect opportunity to recover from a stressful circumstance.
- Relax. There are periods - sometimes long periods - in every pastor's ministry where stress is intense and unending. Our bodies are designed to handle short periods of stress. But prolonged stress can cause physical and psychological problems. Pastor's retreats can help break the cycle of stress. (Stress kills and Sunday is always coming)
- Rekindle. When I pastored B.T. (before twins) my wife and I did almost everything together: visitation, counseling, committee meetings. But children introduced a different dynamic. It became more like tag-team ministry: one of us would stay home while the other went out. When you add to this the fact that many ministry activities last late into the evenings, your marriage tends to suffer. A pastor's retreat with his wife is an ideal way to rekindle the marital relationship.
- Refocus. It's easy to lose sight of the big picture when you are getting swallowed by daily details. A pastor's retreat can provide the time to assess ministry goals and strategy. It can also be a time to refocus spiritually. Pastors need periodic times of dedicated prayer and meditation.