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Small Church Pastor’s Retreat

October 14-17, 2019


Shepherding Christ’s flock is not for the faint of heart. As you know, the majority of mainline denominational congregations have under 300 members or less, and in the Presbyterian Church (USA) alone, 50% of congregations have less than 100 members. Pastors of small churches wear many hats – too many to count! Pastors of small churches face unique challenges and blessings in their work, and we want to provide a space for them to explore issues related to their vocation, as well as a place to enjoy some rest and relaxation.

Anyone who is a pastor of a small church – teaching elders, commissioned ruling elders, stated supply pastors, even student pastors – this retreat is for you! All denominations are welcome, and all forms of ministry service are welcome, too! We will have “together” time, and then time for various groups to spend with one another to visit about particular issues related to their context and call.

The goal of this conference is to celebrate the small church ministry and learn about the following:

  1. Church leader self-care
  2. Best practices
  3. Risk analysis
  4. A different way to count your church assets
  5. Finding new partners in ministry
  6. Empowering congregational leaders
  7. Sunday morning helps

Questions? We’re happy to help! Please contact us at 1.800.460.4401 ext. 246 or

The Rev. Gradye Parsons

Rev. Gradye Parsons is a retired Presbyterian minister living on a farm in Kodak, Tenn. with his wife Kathy. Gradye served two congregations as a pastor, The Newport Presbyterian Church and the Windsor Avenue Presbyterian Church in Bristol, Tenn. He later served as the executive presbyter and stated clerk in Holston Presbytery. He worked in the Office of the General Assembly in Louisville and served as stated clerk of the general assembly from 2008-2016. He is the author of a recent book Our Connectional Church.  He recently served almost two years as interim minister of the Fountain City Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tenn.

Gradye is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Mass. He and Kathy have a son, Josh, who is an assistant district attorney in Kingsport and a daughter, Rachel, who is also a Presbyterian minister serving as chaplain of Presbyterian College in Clinton, S.C. They have three grandchildren: Dylan, Brandon and Bridget.

Cost and Housing

Hotel-style lodging accommodations will be available for reservations.

Single occupancy room: $640

Double occupancy room: $455

Spouse rate: $125 (includes all meals for the retreat duration)

Commuter rate: $230 (includes tuition, lunch and dinners; excluding lodging accommodations)


A $75.00 deposit must accompany registration. The balance of all fees will be due 45 days prior to the start of the event, or upon registration if within 45 days full payment is required at the time of registration. Full refund minus $75.00 administrative fee per person will be made if cancellation is received more than 30 days prior to the conference. There are generally no refunds for cancellations received on or after 30 days prior to the start of the event nor any applying of the deposit toward other charges or future deposits.  

Did you know special scholarships are available for pastor education opportunities? Click here to learn requirements and apply for:  training event scholarships, grants for small churches located in Texas, & Hispanic Latino Continuing Education Fund.

Mo-Ranch scholarships are also available! Click here to learn more.


What to Bring

Bring a Bible, notebook, flashlight, hair dryer, rain gear. Linens are provided. Bring shoes suitable for Mo-Ranch’s rocky, uneven terrain.


Mo-Ranch is 90 miles one-way, or a 2-hour drive from the nearest airport (SAT), allow 3 hours travel/check-in time for departures. We recommend generally scheduling arriving flights before 3 p.m. and departing flights after 3 p.m. to be sure you do not miss any of your event.

If you are in need of shuttle service to Mo-Ranch, call Kars for Hire in Kerrville at (830) 890-8200 at least 15 days in advance to arrange transportation from San Antonio International Airport.

Click here for directions to Mo.

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