Pastoral Wellbeing

Pastors play a vital role in the leadership of our churches and our movement. We are committed to supporting the wellbeing of pastors and their ongoing capacity for pastoral leadership.

Connecting meaningfully with others in ministry is significant in supporting one’s spiritual and emotional wellbeing. But the demands of ministry and life often mean that this does not take place as it should. 

We believe that if given the right structures, we have the capacity and desire to support one another well. Therefore, we seek to encourage, support, and develop pastors in: 

Character: Growing maturity in character and spiritual formation 

Knowledge: Increasing abilities to think biblically, clearly, creatively and compassionately 

Competence: Developing best practice ministry skills 

Leadership: Growing capacity to lead people, teams and communities 

Connection: Helping pastors connect meaningfully with one another to provide mutual support and accountability 

Through the Pastoral Services Facilitator, BCSANT encourages pastors to build meaningful relationships with one another and, where necessary, seek more intentional support. 

Primary Support Services include:

Renewal Retreats

Renewal Retreats are usually 6-7 people in pastoral ministry settings, committing to meet and journey together for a two-year cycle. Normally the cycle begins with a three-day retreat followed by two further, similar retreats, 12 months apart. 

These annual retreats are interspersed with two 24-hour mini retreats, each one roughly halfway between the annual gatherings. Flexibility to this cycle and the program can be helpful and many groups try out a variety of approaches. 

There are groups for men employed in ministry, women employed in ministry, and pastors’ spouses (women). 

The retreat cycle

Long Retreat 
24-Hour Retreat 

Long Retreat 
24-Hour Retreat 

Long Retreat 

How it works

The philosophy behind these retreats is “being there in the presence of God for the sake of others”. The goal is to provide a safe place where the realities of life and ministry can be openly shared and where renewal and spiritual refreshment can be experienced in a holistic way. 

It involves a commitment for a substantial but finite period, to share our stories, encourage one another in ministry, wrestle together with issues we face, and encounter God though time with Him and one another. 

To be involved means giving priority to all the gatherings in the whole cycle.  There is no scope for partial commitment as the process requires full participation to all aspects of the cycle. 

Facilitation of the groups is by pastors who have been involved in at least one retreat cycle. Part of phase three is to affirm one another and plan for the next retreat cycle. It is anticipated that the group will multiply so that others can be invited to join in. 

Key elements of the retreats include:

  • Time with God and in His word 
  • The telling and hearing of your story knowing you will be heard and respected
  • Prayer for and encouragement of one another
  • Time to engage in meaningful theological reflection on issues raised by being a person in ministry 

Various facilitators are exploring new ways of retreating together including some more active options than has traditionally occurred. 

Pastors Networks

Regular meetings with a small group of pastors over a protracted period are significant in maintaining long term wellbeing and ministry skills. Pastors Networks seek to provide a context for this.  

The networks within BCSANT vary enormously. Some are geographic, while others are based on ministry context. Networks seek to meet 6-10 times a year for 1-2 hours and include some time in the Word, touching base to encourage and pray for one another, and some time to consider a particular ministry ‘issue’. All people involved in ministry are encouraged to be a part of a network. 

Each network has an appointed facilitator who arranges the gatherings and ensures it is significant. Some of the options for networks include: 

  • Rural pastors 
  • Local geographic gatherings of pastors 
  • Pastors with particular focus 
  • Pastors of large churches (over 250) 
  • Networks of people in specific ministry contexts 
  • Youth, children, community engagement, pastoral care, etc.

Intensive Pastoral Care 

There are times when ministry becomes overwhelming, or when those in ministry reach breaking point.  While we seek to provide systems and support structures to reduce this possibility, due to the testing nature of ministry, it still occurs. 

For BCSANT accredited and recognised pastors, there is provision for more intensive pastoral care during these times.  

The Pastoral Services Facilitator is the first point of call, and any contact will be handled confidentially. There are several retired pastors available for regular ongoing support. Other support measures are also available when required.