Shane Stacey is national director of ReachStudents and a member of First EFC in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Too often, I learn of young leaders who have been removed from their ministry positions because of some sort of moral failure. In my current role, there is nothing that saddens me more.
This is one of the reasons why we host Rebound—a renewal retreat for youth pastors and wives—every year. I want to stay focused on the preventative side of this battle rather than simply on the recovery side of it. Most conferences that youth pastors attend rightfully focus on their “hands” – equipping them with tools for doing more ministry.
Rebound is unique because it focuses on the heart of a youth worker and the relationships that matter most, but are all too often neglected—namely the relationships with God, ourselves and our spouses (if applicable).
Every year, I have a few conversations with youth pastors who tell me their board will not allow them to attend Rebound because they already are given vacation time.
Here are four reasons why Rebound is a renewal retreat and not merely a vacation:
Most vacations for younger leaders involve small children. This rarely allows the sort of space needed to get some extended time with Jesus or to engage with a spouse on the condition of your marriage. We bring in speakers who address the heart issues that ministry leaders often overlook and then give intentional time to youth workers to engage with their spouses and others on these issues. It’s easy to leave a vacation without having the critical conversations with God, yourself and your spouse that you need to be having. It’s hard to leave without doing that at Rebound.
A vacation is a time to withdraw from ministry relationships. Rebound, on the other hand, provides participants with plenty of time and space to connect with other ministry leaders on the questions they are currently needing some input on. You leave Rebound with an expanded network of people you can call through the year when you have a ministry issue you need to wrestle with.
At Rebound, youth pastors have the opportunity to hear from and interact with national leaders. They are introduced to ministry opportunities and resources that will help them in their local ministry, resources they often did not know existed.
On most vacations you get physical rest and emotional rest. We’ve created an environment that seeks to provide you with emotional, physical AND spiritual renewal. So often the minster needs someone to minister to their heart. Rebound provides adequate inflow for the sustained overflow that ministry requires.
We limit Rebound to 50 couples to keep the environment intimate enough that the four priorities above can all take place effectively. It’s not just for vocational youth workers. We hold it over a weekend to hopefully make it possible for key volunteer youth workers to join as well. Your church may not be able to afford a youth pastor, but Rebound could be a great way to say thank you to that super-volunteer who leads the ministry.