SARA: Retreat Ministry for Pastors
About Our Partner
The Independent Presbyterian Church of Brazil
SARA is an acronym for a retreat ministry that was developed by Outreach’s Portuguese-language Ministries Coordinator, J.C. Pezini, and a colleague in the Independent Presbyterian Church of Brazil, the Rev. Mario Gois. SARA means “serving,” “helping,” “refreshing,” and “befriending” in Portuguese. A typical retreat involves up to 20 pastors over three days. The outcomes envisioned for those participating in a SARA retreat are that they will establish (re-establish) a life of personal piety making use of the classical spiritual disciplines; that they will find a spiritual mentor; that they will engage in spiritual conversations with fellow pastors as part of being colleagues in ministry; and that they will take a regular day off. A movement has begun, says Pezini, humbly amazed at what God is doing. In all these retreats, the emphasis is on the importance of the pastor having a daily devotional life, doing exercise each day, and engaging in regular serious reading. Recovering a vital devotional life renews the pastor’s delight in God and capacity to listen to God.
SARA was created to address a huge crisis in Brazil among pastors who are laboring hard but whose souls need restoring. In just a few years, SARA Ministries has reached more than 400 pastors in 12 denominations. Pezini and his SARA colleagues are involved in 13 mentoring groups around the country, each of which has two retreats per year. Pezini has trained others who are committed to the vision of mentoring pastors.
The Outreach Foundation is seeking gifts totaling $5,000 to defray costs of attending SARA retreats for pastors who cannot afford them.