Why I am returning to Yosemite – by Pat

Guest Blogger, Patrick McWhorter

Why go back to Yosemite? I prayed about the opportunity and tossed it around for a while. Would this year match the experience I had last year? Would it be better? Would it not be as good? There were so many reasons to go back and really no reason to not go.


The number one reason to go back – I know that I need the time away. I love what I do, don’t get me wrong. But throughout the year, the emotional stress can wear you out. The “normal” people issues that come up can wear on your soul, especially when the people are not just bodies in the congregation but are your friends, your family, your brothers and sisters in Christ. I know that I need the time away to leave the work of ministry behind, to leave the daily tasks behind, and to focus on ultimately what is most important, my own personal relationship with Christ.

Words cannot describe the feeling you have when you are 8,000+ feet up, looking over God’s awesome creation and it is just you, Him and His Word. God revealed things to me during the week at Yosemite that I was not expecting.

The time away last year allowed me to refocus my life and set my eyes on what was most important once again. I am looking forward to the time once again to refocus my life and to continue to grow as a child of God.


The opportunity to get with other guys from across the country and share life together was amazing. We all shared the common ground of children’s ministry but it was great to get to know each other, pray for each other, and encourage each other in our personal walks with Christ. I am looking forward to that fellowship again this year.

The cost was an issue that I had to weigh out. But when it came down to it, I could spend the money going to conferences getting new ideas for ministry or I could spend the money and take the time away I need to grow in Christ and re-energize my walk with Him.

I don’t know about you, but I have so many ideas that I don’t know what to do with them all. And the thing is, if I am pouring my energy into ministry and not taking care of my own relationship with Him, those new ideas are not going to take off anyway. Over the last couple years I have been doing what I can to do what I have always known, to put my relationship with God before my ministry. This is easier said than done, especially during the day to day things of life. Yosemite Summit is a great way to get away to leave the other things behind for a week and focus on what is most important.


Whether we realize it or not, we all need this time away with God. We fool ourselves into thinking that it is not a good time. We tell ourselves that we have too much going on. The things is, when don’t we as children’s pastors have too much going on? When are we just waiting around with nothing to do? There is always something to do!

There is never going to be the “best” time in our eyes to leave things behind. But as I came to the conclusion last year and this year, I need this time more than I need to hold the next event for the children. I need this time more than the next new activity or idea for the children’s ministry.

I realized that I needed to trust God and that He would provide the way to get things done that needed to get done – He would clear the path even if issues came up while at Yosemite. So with that said, I look forward to the discussions God and I will have on that mountain top. I look forward to the time with Him. I look forward to the continued strength from Him and how I will grow closer to Him that week. It will be an awesome week. Don’t miss it.

– Pat, April 2010

Learn more about this retreat at www.Yosemite Summit.org
Only four spots remain for 2010

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