Launching a new ARC (Association of Related Churches) church is no small task. In fact, it can often feel like a sprint. That’s why ARC consistently reinforces its commitment to pastoral rest.
One way the organization does so is by hosting an ARC church planter retreat for all planters who have reached the one-year anniversary of their launch date.
This year’s event was held at The Retreat at Church Creek in Johns Island, South Carolina. The retreat allows all ARC church planters who have journeyed through similar experiences to gather to fellowship with one another, discuss the highs and lows of their first year, pray, and rest.
Greg Surratt, founder and former president of ARC, hatched the idea of ARC’s retreats. His mission has been to continue pouring into pastors and helping them sustain their ministry in a healthy way.
Climbing Out of a Ditch
Surratt knows first-hand what it’s like to find yourself in a deep hole. He wants to make sure that other ARC pastors have the tools and resources to dig themselves out of those holes or avoid them in the first place.
Just a few weeks after he took his first pastorate role in a rural Illinois town, Surratt slid from discouragement into a deep depression. He didn’t have anyone to turn to other than his wife and his father, who was also a pastor.
It took him six months to climb out of that ditch. A book on cognitive therapy was a big help in getting him to recognize some of the lies he’d begun to believe about himself and how those lies were affecting his mental health.
Surratt has now been in ministry for more than four decades and a part of ARC since the beginning. While he has experienced plenty of ups and downs along the way, nothing has matched that first experience.
Support at the Retreat
Since then, Surrat made it his mission to provide ARC church pastors with the support they needed when they needed it. ARC retreats are one way he helped to do so.
As Surratt has said about ARC retreats:
“I don’t know how many times I’ve heard a pastor say, ‘I’ve never really talked to anybody about this.’ We have a lot of honest conversations and come out at the end with a sense of the beginning of healing, and at least a temporary addressing of stress.”
ARC retreats are designed as a way for attendees to begin what will be an ongoing journey toward achieving greater wholeness. A major aspect of that is rest.
While society is becoming much more accepting and understanding of mental health issues—with much of the stigma surrounding it dissipating—the same can’t always be said of those struggling in ministry.
That makes it even more important for ARC church leaders to take care of their own mental health. A big part of that is resting and relying on others for support.
About ARC (Association of Related Churches)
ARC (Association of Related Churches) represents a collaborative network comprising independent congregations from various denominations, networks, and backgrounds. Its primary mission is to provide essential support and resources to church planters and pastors, enabling them to effectively share the teachings of Jesus Christ. ARC’s operational approach revolves around empowering and equipping church leaders, thus helping them foster the widespread dissemination of Christ’s life-changing message. Established in 2000, ARC has evolved into a worldwide entity and has played a pivotal role in facilitating the establishment of over 1,000 new churches globally.
Erik Jackson has been a senior editor at Health News Tribune for three years. Fluent in French and proficient in Spanish and Arabic, he focuses on diseases and conditions and the newest trends in medicine.