The Need to Retreat

We recently spent a week at a spiritual retreat center called Kerith Creek, near Priddis, AB.  Actually, this was the second time we have attended this retreat, which is for ministry leaders.  And we’re so glad we went again, as it is a great way to rest, refresh and renew.  Not surprisingly, Sabbath-keeping is more or less the theme of the retreat.  We talked about taking Sabbath as pastors and missionaries, and then we practiced it together.  The burnout rate for pastors is high.  In fact, our retreat leaders said that 90% of pastors don’t make the ten-year mark in full-time pastoral ministry.  Disturbing!  So, we were encouraged to take Sabbath while on retreat, and then to come home and do the same.  So, what does that mean for me as a pastor of a small, strong congregation?  The basic pastoral guideline for Sabbath-keeping is: one hour a day, one day of the week, one day of the month, one week of the year.  So, what does a pastor do during these Sabbath moments?  Rest, renew, refresh.  Spend considerable time with the Lord through his Word and prayer.  Read and reflect.  Do some things you enjoy doing.  Spend time with family and friends, playing and forming meaningful relationships.  Setting the pastoral work aside for a few moments to just be.  As we were taught at our retreat, which, by the way, is sponsored by Focus on the Family: “Self-care is not selfish.”  Pastors need to care for themselves if they are to care for others.  And this principle isn’t just for pastors.  It’s for all people.  So, how are you doing at self-care?  I encourage you to think about that question for a moment, and then if needed, make a small change in your life and schedule that will help you take Sabbath well.  Thanks be to God for his gracious invitation to take a regular Sabbath rest.

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