Greece for Ministers

Acropolis night 04Preaching is a hard, lonely, stressful calling. Preachers are subject to unique temptations and discouragements. Job satisfaction is a fleeting thing. I know, because that’s what I’ve done for almost 30 years.

God has impressed on me the need to support, encourage, and comfort those who have given their lives to the ministry of the Word. Preachers need that support, encouragement, and comfort. But few people are really in a position to offer it. Those who have never preached can’t understand the struggles that come with the job. In this case, it really does “take one to know one.”

 A few years ago, I hit on the happy idea of combining my own struggles in preaching, God’s prodding, an intense interest in Paul and Greece, and the needs of preachers, to provide an exciting and refreshing experience for ministers. I started taking small groups of preachers to Greece, sharing Paul’s thoughts on the gospel and ministry, encouraging relationships to develop and/or deepen, and making time to minister to ministers.

My goal for these trips is to put together a group of compatible ministers and transport them to a different locale where I can create an environment for rest, confession, encouragement, and restoration. We talk through 2 Corinthians, wrestle with theology and church, and discuss sermon ideas for bringing texts to life. I’ve done several of these trips and the results … well … this is a life-changing experience.

I contact the elders of a church directly and invite them to send their preacher with me. Here are the instructions I provide to help elders make a decision and maximize this experience for the good of their minister and their church:

  1. As an eldership, I am requesting that you approve the time away for [Preacher/Pastor] and pay the cost of the trip—$3495. That will cover everything: airfare, ground transportation, hotel rooms, per diem, and miscellaneous (museum fees, transfers, etc.).
  2. As a church, this trip provides a great opportunity to honor [Preacher/Pastor] for his service to your congregation—to say “Thank you,” “We appreciate you,” and to send him off with some fanfare and gratitude. So I encourage you to make a big deal out of this.
  3. The trip is scheduled for ________—ten days altogether. The enclosed itinerary gives you a good overview of where we’ll go and what we’ll do. I’ve scheduled the trip so that it only requires one Sunday out of the pulpit.
  4. I will make all arrangements (travel, lodging, etc.) and prepare the group with reading suggestions, travel tips, on-line discussions, team-building, and so on. Half the fun of a trip like this is anticipating.
  5. The only costs to [Preacher/Pastor] will involve: 1) securing a valid passport; 2) purchasing appropriate luggage/clothing/toiletry; 3) buying souvenirs/film; 4) purchase of books, travel guides; 5) snacks/coffee/an occasional breakfast.

If you know of a preacher who has been with a church for a number of years, whose ministry is valued and appreciated, and whose elders might be open to supporting such an experience, please contact me and nominate that minister for one of these trips. The itinerary for the trip can be viewed by clicking the picture below.

Greece with Tim (on screen) 1

A viewable, page by page version of the 10-day Greece itinerary.

If you would like a printable version of this itinerary in booklet form, please click this link:

© 2012 by Tim Woodroof. Reproduction of this material requires permission from the author.