June 29, 2021
For over 75 years Cragmont as provided a place for people to retreat, rest, and be restored. In a busy culture that seems to demand our attention every moment of every day, how do we best follow the example set before us from the beginning of time…to rest.
"Whether we realize it or not, we frequently sacrifice rest as an act of worship for the more “noble” acts of service, teaching, and prayer. Sadly, this is where we get it backwards, failing to realize that rest, just like creation, is part of God’s initial plan for us. Too often we end up like Elijah, who, following a victory on Mount Carmel, runs himself to the point of starvation and exhaustion. Fortunately, it is also at such a moment that Elijah meets with God in the still quiet. Personally, I need those moments of still, quiet rest in the midst of life’s ups and down, defeats and victories. For years, Cragmont has offered such rest, and allowed me to step into an environment devoid of the many needs that are a constant in the life of a minister. By practicing rest, I am more fully able to be what God has created me to be."
Dustin R. Bannister, Ed.D., M. Div.
Director of Thriving in Ministry
University of Mount Olive
Whether you are a stay-at-home parent, professional working all the time, student bogged down with school, a pastor fulfilling the countless obligations you face, or in another station of life, everyone needs time away from the normal hustle of life to gain perspective and regain intimacy with the Father.
"The Gospels affirm on more than one occasion that Jesus would seek times of spiritual renewal in the solitude of prayer and fasting by himself …oftentimes on a “mountain”. He was intentional about taking the time to briefly relieve himself of the daily riggers of life ministering to the spiritual needs of so many others, so that he could draw close to God for nurturing and healing of his own spirit.
In the same way, pastors should be just as intentional about their own spiritual welfare. Pastors wear a heavy burden, and at times the mental, physical, and spiritual toll can be overwhelming. We are given the great privilege of serving God through serving and ministering to others. But, how can we serve effectively if our own spirit is worn and uncared for? The answer…we cannot.
I am very fortunate to serve a body of believers that not only allows me to take time away for my own spiritual care, but heartfully encourage it. Several months ago, I was very fortunate to take a few days of sabbatical at Cragmont Assembly. Time communing with God in his Word and in prayer, is time well spent. I returned with a renewed sense of focus and confidence in what God was doing in and through me.
I would encourage all pastors to be intentional about their spiritual health. Take time to get away with God…if not at Cragmont Assembly, do it somewhere. I would also encourage their congregations to not only allow them time away, but encourage it and even pay for it. The heart of a pastor is to give of himself; and when his spirit is healthy and focused on God’s leading, he can give the best of himself."
Reverend Duane Casey
Pastor, Micro OFWB Church
Cragmont is here for you.