Q: If this trip is free, then why do I have to send a deposit?
A: As much as we want to bless you with a free trip so that you and your spouse may come and get some well-deserved rest, we need to know that you are actually coming to our event. Because we want you to experience this rest in the fullest and highest sense that you can, Harvest Foundation pays for all the rooms regardless of whether it is occupied or not. Now, as long as you show up and check in to the resort, we do not keep the deposit. In fact, once you and your spouse have checked into the resort, we will hand you the deposit back immediately ourselves.
Q: What happens if I need to cancel?
A: Let’s say that you registered for our event, made plans to travel to our retreat but then months later life gets in the way and you have to cancel. The first thing you need to do is notify us immediately of your need to cancel. From there we will do our absolute best to replace you. If we are able to replace you, which normally we have a waiting list a mile long so it should not be a problem, then we will return your deposit. If you have a pastor that can take your place we would be willing to entertain that option as well.
Q: What happens to my deposit if I do not show to the retreat?
A: If the day of arrival comes for the retreat and you do not show up without notifying us then you will forfeit the deposit to Harvest Foundation. Again, we normally have a long waiting list and have actually been able to fill rooms close to the start date. Do not be hesitant to contact us and let us know you are not coming because we can immediately search for a couple to take your place so that they might receive the blessing of rest.
Q: Why does Harvest Foundation do this for pastors?
A: This is the easiest question to answer. We love who pastors are to the body of Christ. Every day, ministers work hard to see to the congregations they are with and then have to turn around and do the same thing with their own family. Even if you are a people person and you thrive on being around people, the act of ministering to God’s people still takes a physical, mental, and spiritual toll on the pastoral couple. You help people to try and solve their issues and woes all the while you have those same problems yourself. Harvest Foundation was created to come along-side the pastor, to encourage them and lift them up, so that they might finish the race they began. The only way you can accomplish this is to stop every once and a while to rest.
Q: What can I expect at a Harvest Foundation retreat?
Expectation number one: There’s no catch. We will not lock you in a room and force timeshares, diet supplements, and Sunday school curriculum down your throats. You are there to rest and connect with other pastors.
Expectation number two: Rest. We know you are tired. We want you to catch up on about 20 years of sleep.
Expectation number three: You can expect to come back for many years to come.
Q: What are my financial obligations?
A: Harvest Foundation pays for your room for the entire time of your stay. If the location of the retreat is within the 48 continental United States, then Harvest will be paying for one meal per day and you will need to make up for the other meals during your stay. This typically consists of a lunch and dinner on one day followed by breakfast and lunch on the next. If the location of the pastoral retreat is an international one then Harvest Foundation will be taking care of all your meals. This means that the only financial obligations you have, other than the deposit, would be your food during your free time on a domestic event and your travel to and from the retreat.
Q: Is there a dress code at the retreats?
A: The dress code is generally casual in whatever makes you comfortable. Over the years we have had people show up to our meals in three-piece suits…sitting next to people in a t-shirt and shorts. Whatever is casual for you is good because we want you to relax. Of course, we would like to remind you to please be modest in your choices which lead me to say “Please, no speedos.” You know who you are.
Q: Who is eligible to go to a pastoral retreat?
A: At this time we are only able to invite ministers who are in the senior or lead position of the church. This means that as much as we would like to invite pastors who are in the executive, associate, music, youth, children, and the many other pastoral positions there are…we are unable to at this time. I assure you, we are ever working on a solution for this and will announce it for the ministerial world to hear as soon as we can. For now, we are focusing on those who are in the lead position.
Q: I have young children. Are they allowed on the retreats?
A: As much as we would love for your family to be there with you, these trips are designed for the couple in mind. This means…no. You may not bring your children.
Q: I am a senior pastor but I am not married. Am I able to come?
A: Again, the retreats are designed for the pastoral couple so we are not able to invite single pastors whether you have never married, are divorced, or are a widow/widower. It is the purpose of the retreat to strengthen the couple.
Q: How long are the retreats and must I stay the entire time?
A: Typically the retreats can go anywhere from three to six days depending on the location of the event. Domestic events tend to be three to four days whereas international destinations can be five to six days. Because Harvest Foundation is paying for you to come and rest we are asking that you make plans to stay the entire time from beginning to end. If you know that you cannot stay the full length of the event we ask that you do not register so you might leave that space for a couple that can be present the entire time.
Q: What is the itinerary like at a harvest foundation retreat?
A: Typically, on the first day you arrive to the resort you will check in to your room, preferably on or around 3-4 PM which is standard check in time for hotels. You may choose to come earlier but you will have to understand the front desk may or may not have your room available. While you are checking into your room, you will be greeted by Harvest Foundation staff who will present you with the itinerary as well as the deposit you sent in upon registration. Once you are checked in, you will have free time to explore the resort until 7PM where our first meeting will occur.
That evening, at 7PM, we will have a Meet & Greet event where you will be introduced to the Harvest Foundation staff, Presidential Council, and our medical doctors. The food provided at the Meet & Greet will be somewhere between heavy hors d’oeuvres and a light dinner. At this event you will have the opportunity to meet new people or just catch up with old friends. Somewhere in the middle of all of this, our President, James Henson, will take five minutes to officially greet you, thank you for coming, and then dismiss you to free time until the next morning. From there you may stay and continue to eat while meeting new friends, walk around the resort, or go back to your room. It is your choice to make.
For breakfast the next morning you will be served a buffet style meal at 8AM. At 9AM we will stand together and sing two or three worship songs and then once again our president, James Henson, will take five to ten minutes just to say, “We love who you are in the body of Christ…now go get some rest.” From that moment you will have free time to go and do whatever you want until 6 PM the next evening where we will all come together for a farewell dinner.
At dinner we will once again eat together as a group, stand and sing 2-3 more worship songs, and once again hear an encouraging word from our president, James Henson, or another one of our leaders. At the end of the message, that should only take 15 minutes or so, you will once again be dismissed to go and do…whatever it is you want to do. The next morning you will checkout of the hotel and return home hopefully refreshed, renewed, and rested.
THAT is a typical retreat with Harvest Foundation.
Q: This sounds too good to be true…what’s the catch?
A: Sometimes things that sound too good to be true and both good and true. So, with Harvest Foundation there is no catch, no strings, and there are no hidden agendas. If you want proof…well…you can either come for yourself and prove us wrong, or you can contact us and we will connect you with a pastor who has been to our retreats and you can hear testimony from their own experience.
If there is a question that has not been addressed, please feel free to send it to us and we will answer it as soon as possible. We love you and who you are in the body of Christ. We want you to finish the race you began. So, from start to finish, we will be there with you every step of the way. As always, we look forward to being with you soon. Thank you, and God Bless.