What is a Soul Care Intensive?
A Soul Care Intensive is a dedicated time, most often 3-5 days, focused on the care and recovery of self and soul. For many, an intensive comes after a particularly intense season of life and service. For others, it can serve as a creative launching point for your professional sabbatical.
An intensive is a convergence of essential elements that replenish the soul;
Who would benefit most and what will be addressed?
"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
We love to work with pastors, ministry leaders, missionaries, post-adoptive parents, professional counselors, caregivers, couples in crisis, entrepreneurs, business leaders, and non-profit leaders.
Our heartbeat is for people who are experiencing some degree of compassion fatigue, adrenal fatigue, or some other dimmension of spiritual exhaustion. A Soul Care Intensive is helps leaders investigate and gently interrogate their own fatigue and frustration.
Other issues and concerns can include;
"The idea ... developed from a two-pronged stimulus: fatigue and frustration. I was tired. That's hardly unusual in itself, but it was a tiredness that vacations weren't fixing - a tiredness of spirit, an inner boredom. I sensed a spiritual core to my fatigue and was looking for a spiritual remedy." —Eugene Peterson
Recent Feedback from an Intensive:
1. What would be the benefit of incorporating a soul care intensive into your life as a pastor?
I found the benefit to be that I was able to step away to gather language and skills to properly care for my own soul, so that I could help others care for theirs. In the hectic pace of pastoral care giving, I was not able to rest, reflect, and gather the necessary skills to lead others. Learning to unbusy one's self might be the greatest skill you learn and teach others in our current ministry context.
2. What was attractive about a Soul Care Intensive and how are you finding it to be helpful even this many weeks afterward?
The most attractive part of the Intensive was the thought that this could help my everyday life and my relationships with God, spouse, and others. Many of those relationships were ok, but not thriving. I feel, a month out, more relaxed. I ask myself questions during the day when scenarios arrive, "Is this life giving?" "Am I making this more hectic and busy than it needs to be?" I have the proper rubric to engage my highly stressful life and not add to the stress. I am also just attempting to be present with whom I am with and not worried about the next task or meeting. I am not as productive, but I am also treating people as I would like to be treated.
3. Have you gotten any positive feedback from spouse, family or friends on the back end that surprised you?
I have received comments from church members that I seem different from my time away.
4. What would you say to someone who is considering an opportunity like this?
You need this. If you feel as though ministry is getting the best of you or you are just too busy, you need to relearn what it means to be you and connected to the God that desires you. You are not a machine made for productivity and meeting all the demands of those around you. In fact, the best gift you can give your congregation is that when they are in your presence, they feel the presence of God.
5. Who is the ideal candidate for an experience like this and how would you consider encouraging them to pursue something like this?
An ideal candidate might be someone that has been a certain church for an extended time 7-10 years and things are getting stale. Perhaps someone that tends to be type A and needs to learn to relax and filter life in a healthy way.
“Self-care is never a selfish act - it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give the care it requires, we do it not only for ourselves, but for the many others whose lives we touch.”
― Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation