Why the Pastors & Wives Retreat means so much to me
By David Johnson | Jun 7, 2021
We put a lot of time and effort and funding into the Pastors & Wives Retreat. As a result, we are only able to do it every three years at this point.
Why make the effort? Why go to all the expense? Is it really worth it?
You may think my answer would be the value of connecting with pastors from a denominational leader’s perspective. Or maybe building goodwill with the pastors and their wives so they feel better about their connection with the convention. But while both of those things are possible outcomes, it is not why the retreat is so important to me.
When we first started having a Pastors & Wives Retreat in Arizona, my wife and I were serving at 22nd Street Baptist Church in Tucson and had three small children. The idea of getting away for a couple of nights at a nice resort was more than appealing! But what we experienced when we were there was connecting with other ministry couples who shared some of the same struggles.
One of those couples, Mark and Nancy Pitts, became lifelong friends. In the lean years when there was not a retreat, we would often lament how much we missed them and the fun we had together. Mark and I often joked that if we were ever in a position to do something about bringing the Pastors & Wives Retreat back, we would make it happen!
Fast forward to April 2013, when I was elected to be the new executive director of the AZSBC. Mark and Nancy drove up from Sierra Vista to attend the meeting, and we said now is the time! Mark served as the chairperson of the team to plan the first revived retreat. With Keith Henry’s leadership, we decided it would focus on simply helping pastors and their wives relax, recharge and refresh!
You can imagine how excited we were to get together with Mark and Nancy again to celebrate the return of our favorite time together. That is even more precious to us now that Nancy went home to be with the Lord last year. The retreat was one of the highlights for Nancy during her illness.
At the last Pastors & Wives Retreat, Diana and I had the opportunity to sit with David and Nancy Lee, who were planting a church in the Silver Lake community just outside of Show Low. They shared how much it meant to them to get away and come to an event where they could be encouraged and refreshed. It was great for us to get to know them and pray with and for them in the last session.
Little did we know that it would be the last Pastors & Wives Retreat they would attend together. David passed away with COVID-19 this past year. Looking back now, it makes me so glad we were able to have the retreat and they were able to come.
We are able to offer this retreat at a low cost with an excellent program at a top-notch resort because of the generous gifts of churches to the Arizona Mission Offering.
As we give to the Arizona Mission Offering this year, remember how much the Pastors & Wives Retreat means to people like the Pittses and the Lees. We have an opportunity to bless pastors and church planters who serve faithfully and sacrificially among us. Who knows how long we will have to show that kind of love to them.
That is why the Pastors & Wives Retreat means so much to me. That is just one of the reasons I am glad to give to the Arizona Mission Offering!