Time away helps pastors gain perspective for ministry

Whether it is a few days in the Hill Country, guidance from an experienced counselor or a small group retreat designed to address the issues a minister faces, a variety of resources are available when pastors battle conflict in the course of ministry.

Creek House Inn, south of Kerrville is a bed and breakfast offered at no cost to pastors, missionaries, Christian workers and their spouses. “We provide an environment of no stress and let the Lord do the healing in the quietness of a non-programmed, non-threatening setting,” explained Dick Sisk, pastor of Tarpley Baptist Church.

“We’ve had guys who were either dealing with a power struggle in the church, disappointment in staff or struggling in their marriage,” he explained. While not designed as “a program to heal pastors,” Sisk said he sometimes draws from his 40 years of experience in ministry to share with his guests. “Mostly, I’m a good listener.”

Many Baptist associations in Texas offer reduced rates for weekend getaways. Selah Ranch and Pine Cove are Christian ministries in East Texas with retreat opportunities.

Various counseling services can be suggested by the Minister/Church Relations Department of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention.
Sonscape Retreats provides weeklong retreats in Colorado and Tennessee where ministers can get away for “rest, renewal and life change.” After pastoring four churches and serving as executive director of the Nevada Baptist Convention, Thane Barnes joined Sonscape as vice president of development.

“Pastors are asked to be biblical scholars, dynamic preachers, strong leaders, sensitive counselors, effective administrators, successful fundraisers, available caregivers and much, much more,” Barnes said. Attempts to meet unrealistic expectation leads to stress that often results in conflict in churches, depression and forced termination, he added.

“This retreat gives you a chance to verbalize what you’re going through,” Barnes said, “coming to grips with where you are in your relationship to God, your family and your spouse.” Only four couples attend at a time in order to provide personalized attention, he said. 
“Everything inside of you may say, ‘I don’t need this,’ but it is the kind of tune-up that keeps you in the game,” he insisted. “It gives you time to process and slow down to the point where you have a plan for going forward.”

For more information:

  • Creek House Inn—Contact the Sisks at 830-562-3373 or email flatgap73@yahoo.com.
  • Selah Ranch—Call 903-632-2233 or email innkeeper@selahranch.com.
  • Pine Cove—Call 877-474-6326 or email info@pinecove.com.
  • Sonscape Retreat—Call 888-766-7227 or email info@sonscape.org.
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