Twenty pastors, church planters, and seminary students, including several spouses, gathered recently for an overnight retreat hosted by the new church development team of Classis Central California, a regional group of churches.
“The purpose of the event was to help couples and families flourish in the emotionally intense and taxing work that is church planting,” explained organizer Kevin Adams, pastor at Granite Springs Christian Reformed Church in Lincoln, Calif.
The theme for the weekend, “The Human Side of Mission,” focused on the unique joys and struggles of church planters and their families. Speakers David and Jayne George, who planted a Presbyterian church in Sacramento 25 years ago and have over 40 years experience in pastoral ministry, covered topics like “How can ministry bring out the best in each couple and person?” and “How can families flourish in ministry?"
“Those of us planning this have started church plants and have noted the isolation issues as well as the balance issues for the family. Lots of issues come up related to boundaries, balance, children, home life, exhaustion, self-care, and spiritual wholeness,” said fellow organizer Marc Holland, pastor of City Life CRC in Sacramento, Calif. “These are issues that threaten the longevity of planter families as well, so they become critical for our regional church planting team to address.”
Attendees left the retreat grateful for the support shown by the classis for their calling. “I hadn’t yet thought about the issues our speakers raised, [so] it was helpful for us as a couple,” said one attendee. Another commented, “This was a wonderful time of rest and renewal.”