Refresh and Retreat: Reflections

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29 Mar, 2023

In March the BUS hosted our first Refresh and Retreat opportunity for ministers and those working for church leadership teams, at Airth Castle Hotel. This was a significant time to gather as leaders and Jonathan, Dawn and Josh share their reflections of their experiences here:

As someone new to the Baptist Union of Scotland, it was a real blessing to be able to come away for 24 hours for the ministers’ retreat. It was a time of refreshing, and was a real blessing on a number of levels.

Firstly, it was wonderful to meet other ministers, to hear some of their stories, to make new friendships and connections, it was great to spend some time with members of the national team and to hear a bit of how the Lord is at work across the nation.

Secondly, it was a real blessing to be in a setting where we could simply receive and be ministered to;  To enjoy teaching without having to ‘lead it’ , to enjoy teaching without worrying about what visitors might be thinking or how things would flow from ‘this part of the meeting into the next part’. The same is true for the sung worship, to be able to enjoy worshipping the Lord without leading and without having to think about leading, was great.

Thirdly, the space was a blessing – the programme was deliberately not rammed full, so we had space to reflect, to wrestle with questions, to bring ourselves before the Lord, to go for a walk or the pool or the gym or whatever – the space was great, and also the space to receive prayer and pray for others was a wonderful gift too.

The location was perfect, the food was great (though I should have gone for the steak) and the 24 hours were a blessing at the right time, before the build up to Easter.

Rev Jonathan Boyers, Minister at Denny Baptist Church


“This was my first time at a ministry retreat and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a great time to unwind, out with our normal setting. I appreciated the opportunity to connect with other leaders both socially and spiritually. The time for walks, swimming and leisurely reading was warmly welcomed, while the teaching, worship and space for God to speak created a super encouraging environment.
The mix of activities was both stimulating and relaxing, in good measure. The meals were lovely and the ever-flowing tea and coffee meant there was lots of scope for chatting and connecting. Sometimes we get caught up in our own bubble, here on retreat I found this a helpful way to be encouraged – through  hearing what God is doing across the nation. Our working schedules mean there is sometimes minimal time for this, Airth castle made this possible. I found it very helpful to share experiences, thoughts and questions with others who are also leading groups of people, for Christ.
The teaching was encouraging, eye-opening and challenging. Ali & Lisa are very gifted and presented Philippians with grace and conviction. They made space for personal testimony and prayer which enabled us to connect with the Biblical concepts in a lifelike manner. I am still pondering them over in my heart and found that God, in a way that only He can, linked it all together. I have come away feeling closer to my maker, lighter within myself and looking forward to the next one!”

Josh Silver, Youth, Student and Young Adult lead, Queen’s Park Baptist Church 


“I chose to go to the minister’s retreat as a time to take a step back and to listen for God’s voice for me as I face the uncertainty of being Community Pastor whilst the church is in vacancy and seeking a Pastor. Rather than squeeze in the 24 hours away into a normal working week I chose purposely to take the full two days off. The plan was that I could arrive early on day one to feel relaxed, but also to have time to reflect and process the retreat on my return home. This worked very well for me.

Throughout the retreat I felt God’s presence with me. In the teaching sessions, and in times of conversation and prayer with colleagues, I was encouraged, inspired, and challenged. I felt a renewed sense of hope, and a renewed sense of my calling both in ministry in a general sense, and to my church specifically in this time.  

I came into a role of team ministry around a year ago, and at that time was building hopes and plans for the church as part of a team.  A particular ongoing challenge for me has been navigating the losses I feel of the church going into vacancy shortly after I began in post.  However, right from session 1, the verses from Philippians we were looking at spoke to me, along with stories told.  The past is important; it makes us both who we are and is how we got to where we are. And yet we strive on in the present, and reach out towards the future.

Dawn Martindale, Community Pastor, Dunfermline West Baptist Church

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