I have talked with hundreds of pastors since 2006 about rest and renewal. Generally you fall into two categories:
1. You know you need to take regular extended rest, and you do.
2. The rest of you.
I know all your excuses. I know you are working hard at planting a church, you just entered a new season of ministry, there is no one else qualified right now to do what you do, “blah, blah, blah” is what I hear.
Or…maybe what I am hearing is “I don’t trust God enough to take care of His Kingdom while I rest in His glory.” (and that statement hurts just as much to the guy writing this as it does to you)
I hope it doesn’t offend you when I say this, but I don’t really care how big your church is, I don’t care if it is growing or shrinking, I don’t care about the new building you are putting up or the awesome program that has attracted new people into your pews.
I care about you.
I care if you are following God’s call on your life or your own desires for a “successful” ministry. I care about whether your spouse feels like she is the most important thing in your life, or if she feels like the second most important thing in your life after “your” ministry. I care about if your children know their earthly father or if they know their pastor father. I care about whether you are serving from a place of rest or serving from a place of obligation, entitlement, and busyness.
I care because, for some strange reason, many of you believe you are a pastor because you are employed by a church, or because you have a building, or an office. I care because, for some sinful reason, many of you believe you are more of a pastor because more people show up to hear you pontificate. I care because many of you, without a building, without a paycheck, and without a large group of followers, would be lost. You would somehow forget that Jesus had no building, no paycheck, no home, and only a dozen people who regularly cared about anything he ever said.
Jesus was a pastor because God told him he was a pastor. Everything else was ancillary.
Why should you come to En Gedi Retreat? You shouldn’t; I don’t care whether you come to En Gedi Retreat or not. I care whether you retreat or not. Retreat somewhere, if it’s here, great, if not, great. But please, get away for the sake of the Kingdom, for the sake of your sanity, for the sake of the people you lead, for the sake of your spouse and children.
You should retreat because God honors your commitment to escape to hear His voice. I know this is true, I have hundreds of thank you letters to prove this is what happens when you retreat…God shows up and talks to you. Sometimes this is nothing less than ethereal, sometimes it is nothing less than traumatic. Either way it leads you back to a place of reality. Retreat so you walk back into ministry knowing who you are, and who you are not. Retreat because a weakened Christian is easy prey for the Devil. Retreat because you know that in the grand scheme of things, God doesn’t need you. There is something better.
God wants you.
And, maybe, he wants you to be a pastor too.
Someone who cares more about you than your ‘success’
Carl Walker, Founder En Gedi Retreat