Life produces stress. I know that is not an earth shatteringly profound observation. What can be earth shattering is the result of that day to day stress if it is not dealt with. More than sixty pastors and their wives attended a weekend event designed to do just that, reduce their stress. The Inland Empire Southern Baptist Association held their second annual Pastors and Spouses Marriage Retreat this past weekend.
The three day event is designed to provide Pastors and their wives some time to just be alone with an easy agenda. It was a time for our church leaders to just have time together with their spouses and time to be together with other pastoral couples who share and understand the stress and strain of pastoral leadership.
To help in reminding the couples of the importance of, well, being a couple, the IESBA brought in Dr. Jeff Iorg and his wife Ann. Dr. Iorg is the President of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, which is soon to be relocated to the City of Ontario, California in the Inland Empire. Jeff and Ann Iorg concentrated their teaching about marriage around Ephesians chapter 5 verses 22 through 33. There were three sessions during the retreat, centered on ministry, husbands and wives. Dr. Iorg said “this was an outstanding event that was very encouraging for the pastors and their wives. Ann Iorg shared that she felt “this was a great getaway that was helpful in building a stronger relationship between themselves.”
The retreat wasn’t all seminars. There was lots of built in alone time for the couples as well as a Friday evening dinner for fellowship and entertainment. Taking the stage this year was the comedian Nazareth. Nazareth is known worldwide for his clean comedy and Christian witness. Nazareth was to share his humor for about 30 minutes, but gave those in attendance nearly an hour of fun and laughter. One of God’s special gifts is laughter and Nazareth had everyone laughing constantly.
There was a feeling of renewal following the end of the retreat Saturday. Pastor Felix Rogers-Jones III commented “it was beautiful and needed for the refreshing and redirection for the couples which will allow the couples to look forward with renewed energy and joy.” Jeremy and Candace Cannon who are just beginning their ministry journey having been married six months ago had these thoughts regarding the retreat. “It was a good blend of worship and fellowship along with time alone” said Candace. Jeremy said “that he appreciated the opportunity to meet other pastoral couples and the retreat went above and beyond his expectations.”
Deryl Lackey, the Director of Missions for the IESBA summed up the retreat this way; “God exceeded our expectations.” Deryl also appreciated the interaction between everyone. Finally, one of the key points presented by Dr. Iorg was for the couples to each be themselves and to be the couples that God made them to be.