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"May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word."
- II Thessalonians 2:16-17

Monthly Feature

Pictured above: Our Kerith Pines retreat in Manitoba

Good leaders retreat

by Drew Leaver

Good leaders don't always advance, sometimes they retreat.

Great leaders retreat really well.

Escaping the pressure of leadership for a time of evaluation and recalibration is critical. Good leaders know this. In my context, the pastors I most respect who have done some of the most profound work for the kingdom are the ones who have learned the art of retreating well. They make it a habit and they don’t violate the practice.

And you should too.



We're so glad you found our website! If you're a pastor or a family member of a pastor or missionary, you will find all kinds of practical information and encouragement here.

Ministry is a high calling, but it's not for the faint of heart! Inherent in this line of work can be long hours, expectations of others, self-sacrifice and incredible times of joy. The Clergy Care Network and Focus on the Family Canada are here to help provide guidance when life is challenging — and to rejoice with you when things are going well.

Please call us toll-free at 1.888.5.CLERGY or email us at [email protected]. Let us know if we can serve you through complimentary phone counselling, consultation, resource or retreat suggestions or counselling referrals.

Feature Articles

Book Review: It's Not Supposed to Be This Way

by Merrie Eizenga
The title of Lysa Terkeurst’s new book, It's Not Supposed to Be This Way, immediately caught my attention and I knew I would be adding it to my “must read” list. She asks, “What do you do when God’s timing seems questionable, his lack of intervention hurtful and his promises doubtful?”

Kerith Pines: One couple’s story

by Jocelyn Plett
On October 20, Josh and I drove out to East Braintree, MB, (what a fabulous vacation destination!) to spend seven days at a retreat centre.

Is It Really Finished?

by Pauline Doerksen
The last words that Jesus cried out before he took his last breath were, “It is finished” (John 19:30). He had spent the last three years of his life teaching his disciples and the crowds that gathered around him about who he was and why he came.

The Emotionally Healthy Leader

by Sam Doerksen
By taking the principles of Emotionally Healthy Spirituality and applying them to personal and leadership potential, Peter Scazzero opens our eyes to a deeper understanding of the impact of emotional health.

Is a Kerith Retreat for me?

by Marshall Eizenga
Do you feel overworked? Do you feel you are unable to meet the demands of ministry? It is not easy to manage all of the demands of life and ministry.

The Second Half of Ministry Life

by Merrie Eizenga
My 60th birthday is fast approaching. I’m not sure how this happened. I’m still kind of in shock.

Peace on earth, even in the pastor’s schedule

by Wendy Kittlitz
Advent calendars, Christmas programs, children’s plays, staff gatherings, extended family obligations, Christmas Eve service(s), gifts to buy and wrap, and the list goes on. Feel exhausted yet?

Remembering H.B. London

by Wendy Kittlitz
A dearly loved friend of Focus on the Family Canada went home to be with the Lord last month.

A pastor reflects on Clergy Appreciation Month

by Sam Doerksen
Do pastors and clergy need to be acknowledged for their efforts? Is there really a need to recognize the work that is being done week after week?

Submission and authenticity

by Steve Witmer
While the word “submission” carries essential Biblical importance, to many it may seem like an archaic and outdated cultural expression similar to jousting, a telegram or the Model T.

“Honey, I didn’t like that message!”

by Pauline Doerksen
It was a lovely Sunday morning and time for church. My husband was the guest speaker for the morning and I was looking forward to hearing him preach...

Focus on fun this summer!

by Wendy Kittlitz
We have officially entered summer! Do I hear a collective sigh of relief? School is out, vacations are on, programs wind down and sunlight hours are plentiful! Are you ready?

The calling to serve God

by Sam Doerksen
I can still recall my graduation day: college was in the rearview mirror and I was filled with excitement, passion and a willingness to serve – I didn’t know where, but that didn’t matter. It seemed obvious to me that I was called to pastor a church! What an amazing call to follow!

What I learned during my husband’s sabbatical

by Pauline Doerksen
Sabbaticals for those in pastoral ministry are not a new concept. They have been embraced by many and everyone who has done one has a unique experience to tell.

Solo servant leadership: Single and in ministry

by Karin Gregory
A few days ago, I enjoyed lunch out with a friend after a Sunday worship service. My friend is a pastor. She is a woman. She is also single. Not surprisingly, as we talked about our lives and friendship, elements of these three life circumstances – single, woman, in ministry – appeared again and again.

Blinded by Grief

by Steve Witmer
Slowly they trudged along the familiar pathway; sorrow, grief and confusion were their travelling companions. They had been eyewitnesses to remarkable miracles, heard profound teachings and had embraced this prophet and rabbi as the true Messiah. The hopes and dreams of a restored Israel had been fully awakened, but the betrayal of the priests and the brutality of the Roman soldiers had crushed their dreams, one blow of the hammer at a time. The Messiah had died.

A Pastor Looks Back

by Wayne Reed
I was the pastor of a good church, a growing church, a vibrant church. We had new converts, had just completed our first building project without going into debt, and our worship services were like being in the Holy of Holies. I thanked God I served a congregation who genuinely loved and appreciated me, my ministry, and my family.

Conflicted by Conflict?

by Marshall Eizenga
“I am at peace with God. My conflict is with Man.” It is likely most of us understand both the joy and the tension of Charlie Chaplin’s statement.

When Christmas isn’t perfect

by Merrie Eizenga
Everything was going exactly as planned. The three-year-olds’ class had just presented a stirring rendition of “C is for the Christ Child.” My firstborn, decked out in his little red sweater, held his Bristol board “B” with precision well beyond his years. On cue the group scampered to the back of the platform and crawled up on designated bales of hay. I smiled with relief. I had just survived my son’s first Christmas concert.

Book recommendations from our Kerith Retreats team

Fall is upon us and the days are getting colder and shorter. There are days when I want to do nothing more than curl up with a good book and relax. I hope you take the time to do that from time to time. This month, I asked our retreat leaders to share with you some of the books they have found especially helpful, meaningful or just enjoyable recently. Their choices are a great range of titles. I know I would like to read a few of these; I hope you might find one or two that you would find useful as well.

Celebrating Clergy Appreciation Month

Focus on the Family Canada's Kerith Retreats are blessed with some extraordinary staff and volunteers who love to serve ministry leaders. We asked them some questions about what motivates them to serve faithfully and selflessly. To summarize: they love pastors and Christian leaders!

4 reminders to keep your team united

by Steve Witmer
Staff relationships can be tricky at times. So how do we maintain loving community in the midst of conflict and necessary change?

Pastor Joe's no good, so sad, very bad day

by Wendy Kittlitz
Pastor Joe is burned out. For him, ministry has become painful, tiring and draining. He isn't sure how he got here and is even less sure of what to do next. There are three common reasons why Pastor Joe may be experiencing burnout.

Hope Restored: A new option for couples in crisis

by Wendy Kittlitz
We would like to let you know about a new option we are currently working on bringing to Canada to better help you with those in your church whose marriages are in distress.

Understanding compassion fatigue

by Sam Doerksen
If you're feeling emotionally and physically overwhelmed in your position as a caregiver because you're unable to refuel and regenerate, you may be struggling with compassion fatigue.

Viewing Lent through new eyes

by Pauline Doerksen
The season of Lent is upon us. However, as I reflect on my formative years, Lent was always that looming darkness, echoing over and over again to me: You’ll never be good enough, You’re just a bad kid, Who are you trying to fool?

How to become emotionally intelligent

by Sam Doerksen
The question of what we are supposed to do with emotions can be a tough one for many of us. To some, anger is a “legitimate” emotion – it’s rational or righteous in nature. But tears and sensitivity? No chance. The reality is sensitivity and anger are both legitimate. Denying any emotion never works well.

Why pastors need friends too

by Steve Witmer
We are more connected through our electronics than any generation in history. And yet, we have never been lonelier. There are lonely people at your place of employment, in the pew and sadly, even in the parsonage. Pastors and their spouses are not exempt from the inner ache - and even heartbreak - that emanates from shallow relationships.

Tackling pornography in church

There was a time when we mostly heard from women who had discovered their husbands were using pornography. But increasingly now we are hearing from parents who are finding their children not only exposed but in many cases already addicted as teenagers! In order to help you tackle this issue in your church, we have a resource we believe could greatly benefit families.

How to properly process loss

by Merrie Eizenga
Loss is so much broader than just physical death. It's one of the topics we discuss with the pastors and church leaders who visit us at Kerith Retreats, and it is one of the topics that elicits the most response.

The gift of a fresh start

by Sam and Pauline Doerksen

A healthy way to move into a new fresh start requires us to look ahead and recognize the need for change before it's a necessity - and this is best done proactively. But how can we start fresh before a crisis requires it?

Pursuit of sexual integrity as a church leader

by Sam and Pauline Doerksen

How do we approach the pursuit of sexual integrity when we feel like we are risking everything by doing so? Unpacking this issue can feel like opening Pandora's box. The uncertainties of what the consequences may be can feel daunting, yet the inner cry for release from the gripping hold and bondage constantly war against each other.

Depression: Who really understands it?

by Sam and Pauline Doerksen

Over the last few years, we have become more informed about mental health concerns with a great deal of focus on depression. Some of our information has come from reading books, speaking to experts in this field and attending a couple of seminars. While that information is extremely important, it still leaves a broad measure of unknowns.

Dealing with a wounded soul

by Wendy Kittlitz

Do you ever struggle with truly feeling loved? Loved by God? Loved by your spouse? Loved by those you love? In your head, maybe you know that people love you or God loves you, but it might not always translate into your heart or soul.


For more, visit our article archive.

*Note: Links to external sites or articles do not constitute endorsement or complete agreement by Focus on the Family Canada with information or resources offered at or through those sites.

Current Thoughts & Issues

Is viewing pornography grounds for divorce?

Have you ever been asked this question? What was your answer?

We address this issue in our article on Do you agree or disagree? Email us your thoughts.

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