Church Worker Retreats

The LCMS Office of National Mission has held retreats around the country to care for the Synod’s ordained and commissioned ministers.

Church worker wellness has long been a mission priority in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS). Church workers who are healthy in mind, body and spirit are better able to care for their congregations and their families, and they tend to stay in ministry longer and suffer less burnout.

But the resilience of many of the Synod’s church workers was severely tested by the disruptions and uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. As pandemic restrictions stretched on, many church workers reported feeling weary, discouraged and anxious.

“Generally, we can handle this kind of stress for short periods of time, but it doesn’t take long for the adrenaline to wear off and for fatigue to set in,” said the Rev. Michael Meyer, managing director of Congregations and Districts for the LCMS Office of National Mission (ONM).

To care for weary workers, the ONM used donations generously given to LCMS World Relief and Human Care to hold two respite retreats in St. Louis during the summer of 2021. The ONM also partnered with DOXOLOGY: The Lutheran Center for Spiritual Care and Counsel, an LCMS Recognized Service Organization, to offer “Take Heart” retreats around the country for ordained and commissioned ministers. The retreats were free and offered the opportunity for respite, reflection and spiritual refreshment. As of the end of 2023, a total of 38 retreats were offered in conjunction with DOXOLOGY.

“God renewed my heart when it was downcast. DOXOLOGY opened me up to once again taste the goodness of the Lord and hope in Him,” said a pastor who attended one of the first respite retreats.

Three more “Take Heart” retreats will be held in August 2024 in the LCMS Northern Illinois District, Iowa District West and Iowa District East.

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