ORLANDO– Tim Encinosa, pastor of West Shore Baptist Church in Tampa, believes “too many pastors and wives feel isolated.” So, he and his wife were eager to attend the “Refresh” retreat March 3-4 in Orlando.
The retreat did not disappoint, he said.
“It was just nice to be loved on and to meet other couples who know what we all go through in ministry,” Encinosa said.
Refresh drew 60 pastors and wives to the retreat designed to inspire and renew Florida Baptists’ faithful servants in the central region. The gathering, sponsored by the Florida Baptist Convention, met at Orlando’s Shingle Creek Golf Club.
The retreat sought to encourage, equip, and energize pastors and their wives “to keep running the race with endurance,” said Jeffery Singletary, central regional catalyst for the Florida Baptist Convention.
“Pastors are under a lot of stress and want to be poured into,” he added. “It was a phenomenal weekend of refreshing, renewal, encouraging, and relaxing.”
Speakers during the two-day retreat included Tommy Green, executive director-treasurer of the Florida Baptist Convention; Paul Purvis, lead pastor at Mission Hill Church in Temple Terrace and current Florida Baptist State Convention president; and Erik Cummings, pastor at New Life Baptist Church in Miami.
With more than 750 Florida Baptist churches calling the central region home, pastors and wives in attendance gathered around tables throughout the sessions to help foster fellowship and cultivate relationships that would last long after the weekend had ended.
Serving in one of the state’s most heavily populated urban areas, church leaders all too often feel the tension of rapid growth and increased ministry needs.
Throughout the weekend, both pastors and wives said the retreat came at the perfect moment, leaving them refreshed and thankful for this timely respite.
“The benefits of this event were immediately felt,” said José Cardona, pastor at Templo Biblico Bautista in Winter Garden. “It was all spiritual fuel to advance the Kingdom of God, led by the Holy Spirit. Once again, our beloved convention proved that it is ‘right beside you.’”
Cardona hopes events like this will help foster unity and comradery among all churches within the region.
“The desire of my heart is that events like this will foster pastoral unity among all Baptist pastors in central Florida, as part of a move of the Spirit to receive a spiritual revival that will further propel us to fulfill the Great Commission as a ‘united’ team,” he said.
Rounding out the weekend was a time of worship, prayer, and a panel discussion with questions and answers. Breakout sessions for pastors and wives were led by Cummings and his wife, Monique. The next Refresh retreat for pastors and wives serving in central Florida is scheduled for October.
The Florida Baptist Convention is committed to come “right beside” pastors and wives in all six Florida Baptist regions with similar sponsored events.