Getting to know our new president, Jean-Paul Beran
We hope that you have seen and heard the news that we welcomed a new president here at Focus on the Family Canada this summer. If you missed seeing Jean-Paul Beran’s story in one of our emails or in our October magazine, you can click here to get to know him and his family.
One of the first things that Jean-Paul did upon embarking on his ministry at Focus on the Family Canada was to take us up on the opportunity to attend a Kerith Retreat – not only to begin tasting and seeing for himself what some of our ministries are all about, but also to help get his ministry off to a solid start.
We asked him and his wife, Susan, to reflect on that experience and share with you some of what they learned.
Focus on Pastors: Did you find it refreshing to attend a Kerith Retreat early in your new ministry role? If so, why?
Jean-Paul and Susan: The beginning of anything new always seems like such a whirlwind of change for everyone involved. To be able to step away from all the new changes and demands happening, and be able to spend time together as a couple, to go for walks, to talk with others who have already been in ministry and are knowledgeable about how to counsel and support those within ministry, and to have laughs in community with like-ministry couples helped us to rest in knowing that we’re not alone – that when we feel overwhelmed, we have others to reach out to, and that it is important to take care of ourselves so that we can take care of others in our lives.
What for you were the highlights of your experience attending a ministry leaders retreat?
That’s a hard one to narrow down. We loved the leaders, Merrie and Marshall. They made connections with each of us at a very personal level and continue to do so long after the retreat is over. They were there for us, willing to listen and caring enough to allow us to show our vulnerabilities. The hosts went over the top to serve us amazing meals, with a loving touch of their personalities each day. Yum! And the couples that we met and spent the week with – who we were able to laugh and cry with. The free time was also a blessing, especially, since it has been a long time since we have had intentional time just as a couple. We enjoyed taking time to go on walks through the paths made on the property and enjoyed a few outings to the mountains and Calgary. This was time that we were able to talk through all our thoughts and emotions on the journey we had recently begun.
Is there a takeaway from the retreat that you are finding especially useful since you have returned home and stepped back into the busy life of work and family? Can you share a little bit about that?
It has been personally comforting to know that we are not alone in the feelings that we feel. We feel supported both from the leaders and the friends that we made at the retreat. We check in with one another and see value in one another. Another takeaway is that it’s okay to ask for help. Although this has always been difficult for me personally, I am learning with little steps that were suggested at the retreat.
Would you recommend this experience to others? Why?
Absolutely! This experience was just what we needed to gain perspective on both the ministry we had entered and the importance of our time together, to communicate with one another, and spend time in rest and relationship.
More often we welcome pastors and leaders who are well down the path of ministry and sometimes it has been a hard road and they come very weary. It was refreshing for our directors to have the opportunity to sow preventive strategies into our new leader’s life. While everything they shared with our ministry leaders was confidential, we are blessed to know that this was a valuable investment in their ministry lives. We encourage you to consider a Kerith Retreat at whatever stage of ministry life you are in. And when you think of Jean-Paul and Susan, would you join us in praying for their adjustment to the new world and season of ministry they have entered?
Visit KerithRetreats.ca to learn more about our seven-day ministry leaders renewal retreats. We have two retreat centre locations in both Alberta and Manitoba to serve pastors, missionaries, parachurch leaders and their spouses.