The Importance of Withdrawing

To retreat in battle may seem like a bad way to win a war, yet to retreat to Hawaii or to Banff, Alberta may seem pretty enticing!

Sometimes withdrawing gives opportunity to recharge, to refocus, and to strategize about the best way to move forward.

The denomination I pastor in has an annual retreat to Banff. Watching the glacial-green Bow River flowing through town or looking at the majestic mountains that seem to rise up to the heavens makes me think about God. And sometimes I need that! I can get so busy doing things “for” God that I forget to just enjoy him. The beauty of nature sure helps. So does the great worship and the wonderful teaching of the retreat. It give opportunity to go home refreshed.

The other day I had to withdraw from my office in order to do some planning. I was starting a new sermon series in 1 Thessalonians and wanted time to, not just work on the next sermon, but think through the whole series. I also wanted to work through taking notes and figuring out how to apply some things I had been reading lately. I knew that there were too many  distractions in my office. There were emails, and books to read, and lists of things to work on. And like any small town pastor I have an open door. I don’t have a large church building to hide in or layers of secretaries and staff to hide me. When people come, they expect to see me, and I want that. It just means that whether they are church members, a salesman, or members of the community wanting to talk with me about my community involvements, most likely I will have people popping in to see me. Thus the importance of with drawing from distractions for a time and for a specific purpose.

I would really encourage every pastor to retreat and withdraw without guilt. This is an important part of planning and leading well.

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