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Sure, most hotels in America have a Bible in the top drawer of the bedside table, but they may not always practice good Christian values. Everyone needs a vacation, including pastors, and for these leaders of Christian congregations, it’s nice to spend the time off in a welcoming community. There are places that specifically cater to vacationing Christians, and will even give discounts or free stays to pastors. That said, these spots aren’t always the easiest to find. Below, we highlight a few vacation rentals for pastors.
Places to Look
The first thing to tackle as a pastor looking for an escape is to figure out just how to find vacation rentals to suit your values. While sites like AllTheRooms, Airbnb, and VRBO have excellent search features, you’re not going to see a box titled “Christian” as a search filter. Sure, some hosts may carry certain values that adhere to traditional Christian practices but those are going to be hard to search for.
It should also be noted that sometimes an inquiry directly from a pastor can be incredibly beneficial to your plans. Pastors deserve vacations, but it is a pretty niche group. However, the general Christian community is much larger, so it’s easier to find Christian vacations. After filtering through the various options and finding your favorite, reach out and introduce yourself. A good number of these steps will then provide discounts, incentives, or even free stays for pastors.
Quiet Waters Ministries is a somewhat well-known name in the Christian community. For a number of years, they have specialized in guiding Christian leaders experiencing any sort of personal crisis. These can range from grief, exhaustion from daily tasks, or questioning faith. Originally started in Colorado, the organization welcomes folks with predicaments to a healing environment and to provide professional spiritual guidance.
Now that they have expanded, Quiet Water Ministries has a separate business model where they help connect pastors, missionaries, and other Christian workers on vacation. They believe by taking a break, people of faith avoid crises and potential burnout.
Additionally, Quiet Waters has partnered with Wyndham Worldwide and Endless Vacation Rentals to start the Quiet Waters Pastor Vacation Program. The program connects users with resorts and homes from around the world at a reasonable price. Their Resort Vacation Certificate is purchasable for $299 and gives pastors one week of accommodation at their desired destination.
Lawrence W. Wilson and his blog have an extensive list of vacation accommodations for pastors. Wilson, who is the son of a preacher, recalls how family vacations helped his dad endure the emotional and spiritual demands of being a full-time pastor.
Although the site is by no means an extremely well-known authority on vacation rentals, Wilson has been able to maintain a broad list to help working Christian pastors. An important feature of his list is the price indicators next to each property because pastors often have modest incomes, especially bivocational ones. He also has a heart icon to indicate any property that provides counseling, coaching, or mentoring for pastors. The list is easily perusable and broken down by state: 43 states in total have destinations listed. He also has 14 countries outside of the US that have pastor getaways.
Now we’ve highlighted a few ways to find a pastor/Christian retreats, let’s check out specific examples where vacationers can suntan beneath the rays of God’s light (metaphorically or literally).
Jordan Ranch, in the small Texas town of Schulenburg, is considered to be one of the best Christian retreats in America. Their Refresh and Renew package is a four day and three-night stay for pastors and their wives, where they can enjoy the property for free. All meals are included and unlike many pastor retreats, there is no required agenda or curriculum, just a chance to relax and spend time with loved ones. This package is offered on 11 weekends throughout the year. Since it is only offered during specific weekends, pastors stay exclusively with other pastors looking for the same type of break.
In operation since 2003, Shepherd’s Refuge welcomes folks to feel the restorative power of the quiet property in the mountains of Northern Georgia. This non-profit organization is steadfast in its vision of providing a beautiful place to stay and servicing the needs of those in full-time Christian ministry positions. Pastors and their spouses are welcome any time, free of charge. All they need to do is book in advance on the website. Kids and pets are not allowed to stay, so to help maintain the serenity of the property.
Antioch Ranch — in the gorgeous Northern California town of Mendocino — is a quaint Christian retreat tucked away amongst a beautiful pine forest, where folks can rent one of the five cottages on the property. While they don’t outright offer free stays to pastors, they are still very much committed to strong values. No unmarried couples are welcomed to Antioch Ranch and, unless willing to pay a fee, all guests must bring their own bed sheets.