Arizona Mission Offering at Work: A needed retreat for a pastor and wife
By Robin Talley | Jul 26, 2022
For Dawn and David A. Lee, the Pastors & Wives Retreat held in July 2021 came at just the right time in their lives. David is pastor of Silver Lake Family Fellowship near Show Low.
“The Pastors and Wives Retreat is intended to give pastors and their wives a small break from their hectic lives,” said Keith Durham, church health facilitator with the Arizona Southern Baptist Mission Network. “We want to assist pastors and wives in carving out time to care for themselves. We want them to be refreshed, recharge and, most importantly, relax.”
In 2019, Lee became the youth pastor at Silver Lake Family Fellowship, where he joined his father, David Lee, pastor of the church. After coming on staff with his father, the younger Lee’s responsibilities increased into an associate pastor role. In February 2021, David Lee died unexpectedly. The church called David A. Lee as pastor a few weeks later.
While Silver Lake Family Fellowship may be a small church, it is a busy one. Sunday and Wednesday services, Celebration Recovery groups on Thursday, and year-long outreach projects serving the community are some of the ministry activities.
“The retreat came at a moment in our lives when we needed it most,” Lee said. “My head was filled with doubt and a sense of extreme unworthiness to be named among God’s servants as a pastor.
“I had suffered sleepless nights as well as times where all I could do was cry in a dark room by myself,” he continued. “Because I felt like the needs were so great that I could not get away from the church at that time, my mother basically ordered us to go to the retreat, and I am glad we did.”
Like most pastors and their wives, the Lees were in need of some time to refresh, recharge and relax. The timing of the retreat was perfect as it was also their anniversary weekend.
“We were blessed by the whole experience,” Lee said. “The smiling faces were so welcoming. The presence of God was overwhelming. The worship music was amazing. All the speakers were very encouraging. The laughter brought on by the comedian Bob Smiley was medicinal and therapeutic. During a very difficult time in our lives, the retreat was there to lift us up.”
After their experience, Dawn had a message for other pastors and wives.
“I would encourage pastors and wives to attend these retreats whenever possible,” she said. “You don’t realize how much you need it until you are there and experience the love and kindness of all involved.”
In the past, couples from Arizona Southern Baptist churches have paid a part of the weekend expenses, but the majority of the funding comes from the Arizona Mission Offering. Because you give to the Arizona Mission Offering, pastors and wives will continue to have the opportunity to attend this retreat.
“I can’t express how grateful and blessed I felt and still feel to have been able to be a part of such a wonderful time of fellowship and relaxation with my husband and all our fellow pastors and wives,” Dawn said.
*Name changed for security
Robin Talley*, longtime Arizona Southern Baptist, is a former Last Frontier missionary with the International Mission Board.