On November 2-4, Education and Clergy Development and Pastors Spouse Connection welcomed over 80 attendees to Breakaway 2017, a conference aimed at helping pastors’ spouses find renewal and relationship.
Pastors’ spouses are often caught between vocation and formation; their family life is bound together with leadership of their spiritual community. Without vibrant connections with others who sit at this intersection, the life of the pastoral spouse can be pressurized and isolating.
This year’s Breakaway Conference offered refreshing content while fostering the healthy connections that de-pressurize the life of the pastoral family. Keynotes, worship services, and breakout sessions were organized to re-center attendees around the themes of identity in Christ, spiritual rhythms, and church/family leadership.
Marietta Williams–one of the organizers of the Breakaway conference–remarked, “We wanted spouses to feel more connected to God and other spouses who share their same journey. At the end of Breakaway, it was our desire that spouses leave feeling more connected than when they came and with that have a sense that they are not alone in this unique role. We can walk this road together – encouraging, praying, and cheering for each another.”
Asked about the unique culture of the event, Williams said, “It is hard to find an environment like this, a place where we are with others who just ‘get it.’ We don’t have to do a lot of explaining about the things we do or what we are navigating such as expectations, transitions, or balance in a very busy ministry life, because we are in a place full of others who can relate. They know and have been there or are currently there. There are invaluable insights and wisdom to be shared, ears to listen, shoulders to cry on, and hearts to rejoice with as we see God at work.”
This culture translated into actionable content that helped pastors’ spouses move from broad principles to localized next-steps.
Vonetta Carter–a pastors’ wife from Nashville, Tennessee–discussed how Breakaway served as a valuable resource to be transposed into her home context. “I’m leaving filled up and happy with the tools I was able to get. My family and church will be better for it,” Carter said.
In addition to well-crafted content, the relationships were a key takeaway for many. “It doesn’t matter whether you are a man or a woman and you find yourself as a couple in ministry, it was good to be re-centered on the ‘why’ of ministry, and make connections with people I wouldn’t otherwise know,” remarked Jason Colburn.
Fortunately, Breakaway is a launching-pad for further connection. In coming months, Pastors Spouse Connection is launching online connect groups through which pastoral spouses can find ongoing encouragement, connection, and support.
For these groups–along with other resources, go to pastorsspouse.com or find Pastors Spouse Connection on Facebook and Instagram @psconnection.