Retreat Reflections From The Well-Being Of Pastors Initiative
There were tears, laughter, conversations, and deep connections as people moved around the room to get to the person the Holy Spirit was pointing out to them in that moment – this was the orchestra of worship we desired and saw in the Cohort B Inaugural Retreat.
Admin and Communication Coordinator for Well-being of Pastors, Inverness Vineyard, Birmingham, AL
If you are new to the Well-Being Of Pastors Initiative, you can catch up here.
The Well-Being Of Pastors Initiative
In late 2018, the Vineyard received a $1 million grant from the Lilly Endowment to increase the well-being and fruitful longevity of Vineyard pastors. The Well-Being Of Pastors Initiative just kicked off Cohort B (running simultaneously with Cohort A, only nine months behind) providing mentoring, spiritual direction, and coaching to 36 U.S. Vineyard pastors over two years.
Highlights From The Cohort B Retreat
Great food, comfy beds, amazing Vineyard pastors for company, and nice woodsy trails for walking in the great Texas-winter weather, all these ingredients set the stage for some unforgettable Holy Spirit moments over the Thursday-Sunday retreat for Well-being of Pastors Cohort B. From an administrative point of view, this Inaugural Retreat could not have gone off smoother, as TBarM Camps and Retreats just outside of San Antonio, TX hosted us well!
The Vineyard pastors chosen from the applicants in September 2019 were not chosen because they needed remedial help, but because mentors saw both potential for great leadership and a common theme among them that would form an affinity group for their two-year journey together.
Pastors attending the Cohort B Retreat spent the majority of the time getting to know each other, particularly in the small-affinity-group setting, where they shared stories of the formative highlights and low-lights of their journeys with Jesus. In groups of 9 or 10, pastors received each other for who they were – in strength and weakness, in joy and sorrow, in the already and in the not-quite-yet. These pastors received the gift of being heard. And known, encouraged, prayed for. They came out of these gatherings glowing – most with tears, but all with acceptance and feeling loved for who they are.
Pastors also got to know each other in full cohort gatherings for worship, spiritual exercises, and talks…then around a bountiful ice cream sundae buffet and campfire S’mores in the evenings!
It was not just the participant pastors who were touched, but the helpers (mentors, spiritual directors, coaches, and administrators) were also moved by the courage and transparency of the pastors who shared their stories and experiences.
During morning worship, Donny and Lórien Connoy just kept playing, digging in with skill and heart to what God wanted to do among us. They laid a beautiful foundation for us all to chase the lead of the Holy Spirit. During two of those worship times, Steve Nicholson sensed how the Holy Spirit was moving in the corporate gathering and directed our attention to what was happening in our midst. Fresh waves of the Holy Spirit rolled over us as we waited and as people gave words of knowledge and encouragement and prayed corporate prayers.
A particularly meaningful word was given in Spanish and translated for those who did not understand. We prayed for one another in Vineyard fashion. There were tears, laughter, conversations, and deep connections as people moved around the room to get to the person the Holy Spirit was pointing out to them in that moment – this was the orchestra of worship we desired and saw in the Cohort B Inaugural Retreat.
There were also moments of mentoring truth-bombs, Holy Spirit challenges, calling us to step into deeper levels of integrity in all we do, and model that deep integrity for all those with whom we live and minister.
One of the values of the Well-Being of Pastors Initiative is connecting pastors to other pastors. Pastors from every region, totaling 60 people, attended either as participants or helpers. If you know one of these individuals, ask them about their personal experience at this retreat. Also consider applying for Cohort C in summer of 2021, set to kick off in September 2021, when we will join with what the Holy Spirit is doing in the Vineyard Movement and in the lives of individual pastors, and do this all over again!
The Cohort C application period will be open June 1-July 23, 2021, and all affinity groups are open. To check out the details of the Well-Being Of Pastors Initiative, including the benefits and when to apply, click here.