Sunday, May 22, 2011

Should You Give Your Pastor a Retreat?

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!

Pastors retreats are so important
that I believe they should be a
budgeted part of a pastor's salary.
Pastor retreats are not vacations. They are essential tools that help pastors accomplish a specific purpose. These purposes may include the following...

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.
So I encourage you to make sure your pastor gets a retreat a year.  Most pastor's make less than they did before accepting the call.  Some are bi-vocational and are doing heroic work.  And the final note is this...don't forget his wife also.  She works even harder than him in ministry and the home.  Your church will be so much better if you allow them to refill their tanks for just a short period of time.  Don't let your pastor's soul go thirsty, so he can return and minister to your soul weekly!

1 comment:

  1. Being a pastor has been so much more demanding than my time in corporate American even though I had a challenging position. In ministry you deal with eternal life and death issues as well as enter into the pain of others. Stress is constant because Sunday is always around the corner and you are held responsible for everything. You need time to lean on the Lord alone!