WISCONSIN - About 40 pastor and teacher couples gathered last weekend in Madison for an all-expense paid retreat for husbands and wives in ministry.
“Providing a special weekend for our pastor and teacher couples is not so much an expense, as it is an investment in the health and happiness of those who provide important ministries throughout our conference,” said Mike Edge, president of the Wisconsin Conference. “We value our pastors and teachers, and believe that providing a special weekend for them will make them more effective ministers in their schools and churches.”
Drs. Claudio and Pamela Consuegra, Family Life Department Directors for the North American Division, presented encouraging, practical, and humorous presentations to strengthen and celebrate the marriage relationship of the Wisconsin Conference employees.
For pastor Zachary Payne and his wife Allison, the weekend was almost like déjà vu. Prior to their marriage, they attended a similar workshop with the Consuegras five years ago. However, since that time, “we’ve gotten married, had two kids, gone through the Seminary, bought a house, started a district pastoring ministry, been through many disagreements and are still very much in love.”
The couple perhaps typify many pastors and teachers with very busy lives and too little time for meaningful familial connections.
Payne said, “My wife and I have had a busy Spring, Summer, and even Fall. We keep telling ourselves that it will eventually slow down...but it hasn’t. We’ve fallen into the age-old traps of ministry: Saying “yes” to too many things, burning the candle at both ends, trying to be everywhere at once.”
With lives that busy, Payne said that the weekend was a needed respite. “After some intentional time at the retreat for discussion and a night out to ourselves (for the first time in...well, a while), it’s not like our lives are less busy, but we were able to step outside of our busy schedules for long enough to realize some things we can do differently to optimize our time with each other and with our kids.”
Pastors and teachers were very appreciative of the event, with one teaching remarking: “The investment of support you provide for your pastors and teachers humbles me. Thank you for all you do for us and emphasizing that pastors and teachers are on the same team. This past weekend was incredible.”
The Wisconsin Conference values marriages and families, as embodied in the writings of Ellen White: “The world is not so much in need of great minds, as of good men, who are a blessing in their homes” (Gospel Workers, 204).