by Ed Stetzer
When I started my first church in inner-city Buffalo, I got tired. A lot. I was planting a church, working as an insulation contractor and going to seminary. Donna was a school teacher. We worked all the time, rested little and we could never get away—we just could not afford it.
Then, I got a call from a friend who said, “We have a place on the lake if you want a few days away.” We took it and it was wonderful and refreshing—a gift to our family at a time we needed it.
The fact is, pastoring can be stressful at times. No matter if you’re an assistant pastor of a church of 40 or a lead pastor of a church of 4,000, shepherding the people of God can take a toll on your mind and your body (though, if you have 4,000 people, please pay for your vacation and let the smaller church pastor have the free ones).
Recently, I posted to Facebook and tweeted a number of times asking people to share some places where pastors can recharge and be encouraged at a steep discount, or even for free. Pastors need vacation and counseling too, and oftentimes the opportunity for pastors to get away or seek counsel is not readily available or easily affordable. (I’ll be posting the counseling options soon.)
This is not a list I am creating for my family. I (and you can) stay at LifeWay’s Ridgecrest Conference Center. They have a “Minister Getaway” at $44 per night, which is a great way for a pastor’s family to have a nice vacation away from the hustle and bustle of life.
Below is a long list of numerous camps, retreat centers, bed and breakfasts, and others that have discounted or free opportunities for pastors and their families to take some time away from home, away from everything that surrounds leading the people of God. The list is organized by state.
Notice, I do not list if they are free or discounted, but they should be either. It’s just that they change. As such, please go to the website provided for your chosen getaway location and contact the organization and ask if they have a discount for pastors (or missionaries) and what that is. They are on this list because someone told me they offer a special for pastors, but I have not contacted any of the organizations below.
Some of these places offer lodging depending on the season, so call them and ask humbly and kindly.
Finally, I’m sure I don’t have every free opportunity on this list, so please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any additional free opportunities and a link to the respective website. Also, we don’t make reservations, contact hosts or provide further information than what is below.
And, for the legal blah blah blah: I am not endorsing these locations/organizations, vouching for them or telling you to use them. I am just making a list to serve and encourage pastors…
List of suggested Retreat centers: retreat-and-getaway-locations-ed-stezer
Also, be sure to check out the Christian Hospitality Network, which can also be a great tool for pastor retreats and getaways.
Courtesy of ChurchLeaders.com’s blog