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LeaderCare luncheon addresses loneliness

ST. LOUIS (BP)–A time of inspiration and encouragement was shared by pastors and their families at LifeWay Christian Resources’ LeaderCare luncheon June 10 at St. Louis’ America’s Center.

About 1,000 pastors and family members attended the luncheon held in conjunction with the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting and sponsored by Lifeway’s pastoral ministries section.

LeaderCare seeks to take a comprehensive approach to ministering to pastors by focusing on a range of pastoral needs, including health issues, resource needs, counseling and advice.

Mike Priest, of LifeWay pastoral ministries, described the luncheon as “a time of inspiration” and a way “to provide a bit of information about LeaderCare” and the resources LifeWay provides.

LifeWay’s president, James T. Draper Jr., spoke at the luncheon, which also featured a short video and information about resources and ministries provided by LifeWay pastoral ministries.

After a short video detailing the hectic and sometimes stressful life of a pastor, Draper reminded the group that the pastor often experiences loneliness on the job.

“This is a man who’s very busy,” Draper said. “A man who’s surrounded by people, but one who is very lonely.”

Draper centered his message on 2 Timothy, using the apostle Paul’s letter to detail the causes of loneliness, the resources to deal with loneliness and the provisions of loneliness.

“It is a picture of loneliness,” Draper said, describing Paul’s second letter to Timothy concerning Paul’s impending death. “It is a litany of loneliness. A man who is in the throes of a great ministry, but very lonely.”

Problems, departures, distresses and deprivation cause loneliness, while the presence of others and God’s divine presence and protection can help to ease loneliness, Draper said.

“Our loneliness is what we make of it…. We can grow and take flight with our ministry into the world,” Draper said.

LeaderCare will sponsor several retreats in 2002-03, in various locations from Tennessee to California. Two LeaderLife retreats, gatherings designed to provide transforming experiences of personal and marital renewal, are planned for Oct. 21-25 at LifeWay’s Glorieta Conference Center in New Mexico and Jan. 20-24, 2003, at LifeWay Ridgecrest Conference Center in North Carolina.

Draper summed up the luncheon’s purpose by reminding pastors that they are never completely alone.

“God has resources through the presence of others, through his presence, and his Word to see us through,” he said.

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  • Mandy Crow