"As mentioned last month the purpose of this monthly interaction will be to share health related articles, book recommendations, as well as dates for retreats and other pastoral health related events. Thank God, our District is blessed with a ‘pastor health specialist’ of its own, Patrick Crowder! Many of you have already been blessed by he and Mindy’s incredible pastoral counseling ministry. Patrick has some exciting information regarding our District’s pastor’s sabbatical retreats (PSRs). -Ron Flores"
Have you noticed the prophetic waves of the Spirit through the years? Pentecostalism in the ‘20s and ‘30s, crusades and healing revivals in the ‘40s and ‘50s, the charismatic movement in the ‘60s and ‘70s, purpose driven church growth in the ‘90s and 2000s…
With that in mind, what is the Spirit saying to the Church today?
There seems to be a growing impartation about the forgotten ways of Sabbath, Sabbaticals, and the wonders of spiritual formation practices like lectio divina, spiritual direction, monastic retreats, silence and solitude.
This renewing work of the Spirit makes sense when we ponder the widening time-debt crisis of our age. Since 2007 smart phones have rapidly changed the way we do life: 24/7 boundary-less availability to emails, messaging, and social media have become the norm. Awakening, relaxing, family dinners, everything is being invaded with the glow of screens, notifications, and sneak peaks at messages, news, videos, …
Pastors have long been ahead of the curve toward living without boundaries 24/7/365. Now the rest of the world – professionals, teachers, business people, all of us – increasingly blur the lines between work and home. Multitasking has proven a mirage and each invading task sucks away presence, mindfulness, clarity, simplicity, connection and peace.
People are facing a rapidly increasing debt of personal presence and connection.
Against this flood of distraction God is raising a standard of presence, His Presence. Well-worn biblically inspired pathways like Sabbath and Sabbaticals trod earlier by great lovers of God are being rediscovered.
As pastors avail themselves to the mysteries of Sabbath and sabbatical, silence and solitude, rest and renewal, relationship and Presence, something wonder-filled begins to happen… we become the prophetic answer for an ethos of people driven to distraction and hungering for authentic and deep connection. We are being wooed by the Spirit, “Come away with Me!” so that we might become the prophetic sojourners who lead our churches and communities toward spiritual depths and away from harried paths.
How can we make the shift to catch this wave of the Spirit’s work? By embracing Sabbaticals.
Many prophetic elders in the Church have begun to suggest and model the spiritual practices of creating space for God to fill. Routinely leaving ground untilled for a season can enlarge capacity for greater harvests ahead. Expert consensus is now encouraging pastors to embrace a best-practices rhythm of at least a week of Sabbatical per year, and a three-month Sabbatical every 5-7 years of ministry.
To give pastors a taste of what Sabbatical entails (separate from other great experiences like vacations or conferences) we have created 10-12 intentional spaces for pastor couples to gather in retreat with 4-5 other pastor couples to explore Sabbatical rest and connection. We call these gatherings: “Pastor’s Sabbatical Retreats” (PSR’s).
PSR’s create intentional space to relax and listen to God, alone and together. We take 4 days / 3 nights, at a comfortable retreat location that begins at lunch on the first day (after a morning of travel) and conclude after lunch on the fourth day. When possible, we also encourage pastors to consider adding a few extra days (or even weeks), before or after the retreat for an expanded Sabbatical refreshing. PSR’s can serve as a model and launch pad into longer seasons of renewal when possible within individual contexts.
Here’s some good news! The PSW District has allocated a budget to cover over half the expenses of the PSR’S for this year! Housing expenses are the biggest variable, and pastors are asked to share a portion of those costs. While we are always searching for large vacation homes that can be donated for pastors for a few days, most often the PSR costs average about $300 per couple for the cost of the retreat beyond the investment the district is making.
Gathering with four other pastor couples for these gently-guided, unplugged, personally-hearing-from-God, space-creating retreats is truly transformative for life, marriage and ministry. The retreats create safe space to seek God, find lasting friendships with other ministry couples, and tune-up ministry marriages with their specific challenges. Confidential marriage-care sessions are made available and a follow-up process creates possibilities for ongoing coaching and life-giving friendships.
Here is the menu of targeted dates and places for PSR retreats (subject to change depending upon demand). Each PSR is limited to five couples max. To get on a specific list, or begin registration toward a particular PSR, or for other questions, text 626-733-3747, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Don’t hesitate to let us know any way we can assist you as you plan for Sabbatical refreshing.
Patrick & Mindy Crowder
1. April 15-18 – Arizona / NV / UT (full)
2. April 19-22 – Arizona / NV / UT
3. May 13-16 – SoCal Mountains
4. May 17-20 – SoCal Mountains
5. June 10-13 – SoCal Coast
6. June 14-17 – SoCal Coast
7. July 8-11 – SoCal Mountains
8. July 12-15 – SoCal Mountains
9. August 12-15 –AZ / NV / UT
10. August 16-19 – AZ / NV / UT
11. September 16-19 – SoCal Coast
12. September 20-23 – SoCal Coast
October - No PSRs due to Fall Conferences
13. November 11-14 – Hawaii
14. November 15-18 – Hawaii
15. December 9-12 – TBD
16. December 13-16 – TBD