Celebrations of Ministry

Third Retreat Adds to Celebration

For the past five years, the Celebration of Ministry retreats have taken place in San Antonio, Texas. These retreats, directed by the Pastor Partner initiative, are designed to celebrate pastors and wives who have reached a key ministry milestone. This retreat is intended to build relationships with ministry peers, and offer encouragement through worship, Bible studies, and other workshops and presentations. This year’s Celebration retreats were held from March 30 through April 1.

San Antonio, once again, proved to be a wonderful host to over 150 pastors and wives celebrating a ministry milestone. This beautiful location sets a perfect stage for our attendees and did not disappoint when it came to the addition of a third retreat. Pastor Andrew Ewald adds, “The location and amenities are excellent and well planned out! Everything you need– food, hotel, entertainment– is provided and right on the Riverwalk!” In years past, Grow in Grace has hosted two simultaneous retreats, this additional retreat, Begun in Grace, brought pastors and wives celebrating their third year from seminary graduation.

God certainly blessed the inaugural year for Begun in Grace, as its first year attendance was almost 80 percent of the graduating class of 2013. These attendees were enriched in God’s Word through a study of 1 & 2 Timothy led by Pastor Mark Paustian.

The other two retreats, Renewed in Grace (those celebrating 10 years from graduation) and Finishing Well in Grace (those celebrating 25 years from graduation), were enriched through their own study in the Word. Martin Luther College President Mark Zarling led the 25 year group in a study of 1 Peter while Seminary Professor Rich Gurgel led the ten year group in a study of Philippians. In addition to these class-specific bible studies, those attending the retreats chose between various workshops to attend as pastors, wives, or couples.

Each workshop was especially well received by those in attendance. A few of the presentations focused on time management, caring for others and yourself, focusing on your own gifts, and even financial challenges and opportunities.  In addition, bible study presenters were praised and thanked for knowledge they shared. Pastor Michael Zuberbier shares, “It was encouraging through the bible study to see that all of us have the same challenges and we all have the same solution, which is God’s word. [He] arms us to overcome struggles.”

It was encouraging through the bible study to see that all of us have the same challenges and we all have the same solution, which is God’s word. [He] arms us to overcome struggles.

Pastor Michael Zuberbier, class of ’91


Although these retreats have a focus of keeping pastors and their wives connected to the Word, they were also able to kick back and relax with colleagues, friends, and old classmates. With an opening meet-and-greet mixer all attendees informally gathered to celebrate God’s richest blessings in their ministry. In addition, each year, a celebratory dinner takes place at Casa Rio on the Riverwalk. With beautiful views, great food, and enjoyable company this spot is a recipe for continued success.

Plans are already underway for next years’ retreats, to be held April 19 through April 21, 2017. Invitations will be mailed in May to the members of the graduating classes of 1992, 2007 and 2014. If you’re a member of those classes save the date as we look forward to celebrating with y’all in San Antonio next year!