September 6, 2023

Compass Retreats for Mid-Career Pastors


One of the things I love about our ordination process is that while it certainly is evaluative in nature, it is also very helpful for candidates to determine the type of call they may want to  pursue. I know I have personally told several candidates that they are likely wired for, and should consider, a solo pastor position as their first call. This idea is often met with a little trepidation, but also confirmation, for what they may have been feeling inside but hadn’t articulated.  

During the ordination process, we have had several assessors or Spiritual Formation Group leaders say, “We should do something like this for mid-career pastors to help them/us discern God’s calling for our next season of ministry”. In addition, when we hired an independent consulting group to study our ordination process, they made the same observation and suggestion.

Therefore, I am pleased to announce that we have received a matching grant from a highly interested funder that includes the development of a process for mid-career pastors we are calling Compass Retreats. You will hear a little more about the “matching” part of the grant later, but let me explain a bit of the process that we will be offering starting in the spring of 2024. 

Compass Retreats will be offered for those who have been ordained for at least 5 years. They will certainly be different in that they aren’t an evaluative process like ordination, but some elements will remain similar. 

  • We will use a different set of tools to help people understand their wiring and leadership behaviors in their particular context. 
  • We will help pastors take a reflective look at their lives and journeys to understand how God has shaped them in their pastorate for their future. 
  • We will help pastors discern their next season for ministry. This may be to re-engage in their current call with a new focus and purpose, or that God may be leading them into a new call.
  • We will help pastors discern their own personal map for development in their next season of ministry.
  • We will provide a peer based community for current and on-going processing, encouragement, spiritual growth as pastors seek to live out their reinvigorated sense of call.
  • In addition, the hope is that this process allows some Synod staff to be aware of the calls placed on individuals in order to help make recommendations to specific churches that might be a good fit. 

Compass Retreats will be COMPLETELY FREE for pastors to attend. Pastors will simply need to pay for travel to the two day retreat that will be held at the Dallas office. Hotels, meals, instruments, and so on are included in the grant. Kaitlyn Wood, our new Director of Church Health, will be the one overseeing this process.

I am very excited for what is to come! It is wonderful that we have received confirmation from the consulting organization we work with and the donor who supports us that this is a process that is worth the investment of time and money for the future of our movement. Keep an eye out for more information and begin praying if this might be something you or a pastor you are connected with would like to participate in! We can’t wait to see how God continues to transform our leaders and churches for His glory and the furthering of his Kingdom. 

In Christ,


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