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Despite their best intentions, pastors don’t always practice what they preach when it comes to spending meaningful time in Scripture reading, prayer, and solitude.

“Like the rest of humanity we get caught up in busy schedules and pressing commitments,” says Rev. Paul DeVries, pastor of Brookside Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Mich.

“The spiritual disciplines fall by the wayside, and we do not practice them. Or, if we do practice them (like Bible reading and prayer), it is almost always in a ‘professional’ pastoral or preaching/teaching setting.”

To remedy this, DeVries joined 24 other CRC pastors and other ministry leaders in a series of retreats called “The Deeper Journey.”

Through this program, which begins again this March, pastors and others have found renewal, refreshment, and a new commitment to ministry.

Offered through the Great Lakes Region of Christian Reformed Home Missions, the program is a two-year “journey into greater intimacy with God,” said Rev. Douglas Kamstra, who is part of the leadership team with six other pastors. “We’re just facilitating the opportunity for the Spirit to work.”

Other regions in CRHM have shown interest in the program, said Rev. Ben Becksvoort, Great Lakes regional leader for CRHM.

Rev. David Kromminga, pastor of Sherman Street CRC in Grand Rapids, recommends the program. He appreciates the focus on spiritual development and connection to fellow pastors and others. “In my experience, this kind of fellowship has been all too rare, which makes finding it in the ‘Deeper Journey’ very sweet indeed,” he said.

More information, a brochure, and applications for the next “Deeper Journey” can be obtained by contacting Home Missions’ Great Lakes Regional Office at 616-224-0753 or

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