Pastor Retreat Centers
One of the critical lessons I learned through my burnout recovery is that it is so important for Pastors to get away from the daily grind of ministry on a regular basis. Read the Gospels and look for how Jesus stepped away from the crowds, and even the disciples, from time to time. You’ll quickly notice that He did it regularly.
Let me clarify that the retreat I am talking about is NOT vacation. I am talking about getting away from the every day trees so that you can see the forest again. Retreats like these should be filled with rest, and at some point I will post about what a retreat like this looks like for me, but in the big picture, it’s not vacation.
Different Pastors call it different names. There are even 3-4 different names I use for it myself depending on the type of retreat it will be. Could be a Study Break, could be a short Sabbatical, could be a Spiritual Retreat, and it might even combine all of those. The point is to begin to think about 3-4 times a year that you can plan into your calendar to get away regularly.
Since my run in with burnout, I’ve discovered a growing movement of people and places that are set aside to offer Pastors a place of rest, refreshment, and renewal.
- Some of them are free, others cost a little, some cost a lot.
- Some offer counseling with the experience and others just offer a place to retreat.
- Some will take singles, others take married couples only.
- Some offer a place to be pampered, others are rustic in nature.
It’s my goal for this page to be all about helping you find the right place(s) to rest and be renewed. The page will be updated from time to time as I discover more resources and locations, so check back periodically.
I also invite you to let me know if there are places you are aware of that are NOT listed here. I am always looking for places to experience myself and to recommend to others.
Cedarly Pastors Retreat (Delafield, WI)
This Summer Lake House built in the early 1900’s was bought and remodeled in the mid-90’s to become a place that would offer a Sabbath break for Pastors and their spouses. When my wife and I first walked in, we immediately felt like we had walked into a luxurious, “antique-y” Bed & Breakfast.
There are six bedrooms, each with a private bathroom. This place pampers you “to high heaven”. There is no counseling available here, but there is plenty of material for you to work your way through a self-guided spiritual retreat. All meals are provided, and the only requirement is that everyone join together for lunch. The meal is gourmet and it is served to each guest at the table. The hosts are an amazing couple who are very encouraging.
Cedarly is the birthplace of Pastor’s Retreat Network, which currently has three locations for this Sunday afternoon through Friday morning experience.
Let me just say … it doesn’t matter how many planes and how long it takes you to get there. Whatever it takes is worth the experience at Cedarly!
Mountain Learning Center (June Lake, CA)
This Retreat Center for Pastors and their spouse offers a two week stay. During that time, you will have breakfast and lunch with the Directors, Russ & Kandy Veenker. Between those meals, you and your spouse will meet with Russ, who is a Pastor and a Clinical Psychologist, for sessions that will help you understand how you fit in the grand scheme of your experience in ministry. The sessions take in to account your own experience in ministry so far, your family of origin and your marital health.
I used to think that only fallen or failed Pastors go to these kinds of places. Then, I was one … I considered my burnout a type of failure. Ahhh, a post or more for another time!
I came away from my experience at Mountain Learning Center convinced that ANY couple in ministry for more than 6 or 7 years should go through an experience like the Veenker’s offer. It’s deeply helpful AND healthy, whether you’re in burnout or not.
The Cottage on Coronado Island (Coronado, CA)
The Cottage on Coronado Island is a nondenominational counseling retreat ministry for pastor and missionary couples. Walt & Fran, both licensed therapists, see one couple at a time for a week of intensive counsel for marriage, ministry and personal concerns. The Cottage is a lovely guest house with bath and kitchen in the heart of the village of Coronado, surrounded by the ocean and San Diego Bay. The one week retreat includes multiple therapy sessions each day to resolve issues such as marital crisis, interpersonal conflict, stress, depression, ministry decisions and spiritual direction.
Rev. Walter Becker, Ph.D. received his M.Div. and Ph.D. in Psychology from Fuller Theological Seminary where he served as assistant professor of Marriage and Family Ministries. Fran Becker, M.S. received her graduate degree from the University of Southern California and is an expert in marriage and life cycle issues.
For information on fees and available weeks call 877.472.9333 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Center (Edmonds, WA and Federal Way, WA)
The Center offers an intensive two-week spiritual renewal program exclusively for pastors and spiritual leaders. Be sure to ask about it when you call.
Our retreat offers three cabins on the beautiful Cumberland Plateau for one week stays. They are located on private, serene tree-lined property and are fully furnished. A small donation is requested but are open to all pastors and missionaries regardless of their ability to donate. Everyone is welcome.
The cabins are within five miles of both Pickett State Park and Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area, which offer hiking, canoeing and swimming. A gazebo is located in the woods for quiet time and a nice waterfall is three minutes walk down the trail.
The cabins sleep up to 8. A swingset, slide, wading pool and sporting equipment is furnished as well as a gas grill. Visitors can be as active as they wish.