Where can ministry couples get help?

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Where can ministry couples get help?

May 21, 2024 -

Couple enjoying vacation at cabin. By goodluz/stock.adobe.com

Couple enjoying vacation at cabin. By goodluz/stock.adobe.com

Couple enjoying vacation at cabin. By goodluz/stock.adobe.com

A pastor’s ministry will never be stronger than his marriage because we belong to the only profession on the planet that expects success both at home and work (1 Tim 3; Titus 1). It is for this reason that Janet and I have spoken at over 100 ministry marriage events in the last ten years. Since we have four in the next six weeks, I cannot afford to get into an argument with her any time soon!

I’m often asked to recommend places of rest and restoration for ministry couples, I created a short list to share with you in this post. It is not an exhaustive list so please feel free to add more in the comments section of whatever social format you are reading this on.

I have categorized my list into two categories: retreats and intensives. Marriage retreats are designed to strengthen healthy marriages. Marriage intensive are designed to help marriages that are in trouble, so they tend to be more clinical in nature. Retreats are more upstream in nature and create opportunities for couples to invest in their marriages – so I recommend them for.

Marriage Retreats

Although I’ve come across several marriage retreats, only a handful focus exclusively on ministry couples. My wife and I have attended and served at six of these marriage retreats, so we are recommending them from first-hand experience.

Dr. David Ferguson and his daughters have been organizing these gifted retreats for about thirty years and have served 15,000 ministry couples. Yes, you read that correctly. I spent an hour with them this morning and they have several planned for 2024-25 across the U.S. (800) 881-8008; [email protected]

Before Paul Cowell went to heaven a few years ago, he created this network of discounted lodging for missionaries and pastors (25-50% discounts). His built the Whitestone Inn near Knoxville, Tennessee, which invites missionaries to stay for free and ministers to stay for half price.

Janet and I attended this Family Life Ministry couple’s retreat twenty years ago and sent several groups from our church. Although this retreat is not exclusively for ministers, they do provide a FamilyLife’s Pastor Scholarship.

A five-day Marriage Retreat in San Diego, California serving senior pastors by providing them a place to unplug, so they can nourish their marriage. $400 is the total cost.

A five-day Marriage Retreat in New Smyrna Beach, Florida serving senior pastors by providing them a place to unplug, so they can nourish their marriage. $400 is the total cost.

Marriage Intensives

Some ministry marriages need more than a retreat because they are in serious trouble. Marriage intensives have saved countless marriages and ministries, but they are not quick, easy, or cheap. Here are a few places where pastors can fight for their marriages:

They provide therapist-led, intensive counseling for couples and for whole families, and are a ministry of Focus on the Family.

This robust ministry provides both marriage retreats and marriage intensives in beautiful Colorado Springs. They are resourced in part by the Mardel family.

This robust ministry hosts both marriage retreats and intensives in Rome, Georgia and are resourced primarily by the Cathy family (Chick-fil-A).

Marriage 911

Focus on the Family’s PASTOR CARE LINE has been a “911” number for pastors and their spouses for decades. The North American Mission Board of the SBC financially supports this care line, which is both free and confidential. I personally have seen and heard them work in Colorado Springs. They are available from 8am-10pm (EST). 844-727-8671.

If you know of an evangelical ministry on either the prevention or intervention side of marriage that you can recommend, please let me know so that I can help spread the word: [email protected].

Here are a few other retreats that are free or discounted for pastors, missionaries, and their families. Help us build on this list!

Oasis Rest International: Global

BeStillBNB: National

Retreathood: National

Christian Hospitality Network: National

The Cottages at PGP: South Carolina

The Potter’s Place: South Carolina

Eden Ridge: Tennessee

Be Still Retreats: Wisconsin

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