Why I Value Pastor Retreats
I am often disturbed when I talk to someone in ministry who hasn't taken a day off or vacation in a very long time. It not only makes me question that person's wisdom, it prompts me to fear for the future of his or her ministry. No matter how able or gifted you are, you need to "get apart" no less than Jesus did. And you will be amazed at how much stronger and energetic your ministry will be if you not only take vacation time with your family, but also retreat time with God. A pastor or leader who does not prioritize time with God is sending a message to the people he or she leads: I don't need God as much as he needs me.
And don't tell me you can't afford it. The lovely Robin and I have benefitted numerous times from the ministry of various friends and organizations who have offered us retreat sites for nothing or next-to-nothing. In Michigan, Colorado, Kentucky, and Ohio, we have experienced the generosity and hospitality--and recreativity--of prayer retreats and pastoral health retreats.
Fellow blogger (and one of my favorites) Lawrence W. Wilson has posted a state-by-state listing (here) of guest, retreat, or vacation accommodations for those in ministry, some of which are offered free and all of which are affordable. Some links may be outdated by now, but I can personally recommend Rocky Mountain Renewal, Pastors Retreat Network, and three that are not listed at the link: Valley View Inn in NE Ohio, Broomtree Ministries (various locations), and the site of my annual silent prayer retreat for fourteen or fifteen years, The Abbey of Gethsemani in Trappist, Kentucky.
So check it out. And then check out. And then check in.