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Alberta Small Church Pastors’ Retreat 2024

If you are a small church pastor, we want to give you the gift of a few days away in a quiet setting where you can be refreshed. This retreat is designed especially for the leader of a small church of 150 people or less in attendance on a Sunday morning.

In 2022 Small Church Connections had heard of many small church pastors who struggled through the pandemic with their churches. Many had to learn skills that they were not trained for. They were tired and stressed out.

As a result, Small Church Connections in 2022 planned three retreats where pastors and spouses, if they were able to come, could spend a few days away from their churches with other small church pastors. It was a time of spiritual refreshment, workshops and time to relax. It was also a time to connect with other pastors who understand the struggles and joys of pastoring a small church.

Because of the positive response to the three retreats, in Alberta, Southern Ontario and the Maritimes, Small Church Connections is now planning three more retreats for 2024.

Cost: Small Church Connections is trying to keep the cost down for pastors as we understand that many don’t have extra cash. The cost will be $175 per person or $250 per couple for each retreat. This will cover the cost of hotel room and most meals.

There is only room for about 120 people at each retreat so the earlier you register the better.


Dates: Monday, April 29, 2024 from 7:00 pm until Thursday 2, May, 2024 at 10:00 am.

Location: Banff Park Lodge Resort Hotel and Conference Centre
222 Lynx Street, Banff Alberta

Cost: $175 per person and $250 per couple – this covers your hotel room and most meals.
Register: Need to register before March 1, 2024. Numbers are limited.
Contact Person: Gloria Johnston, Administrative Assistant 519-895-6799,


Keynote Speaker: Mark Buchanan – “The Inner Life of a Pastor”

Guest Speaker: Dr. Sam Reimer

Worship Leaders: Prairie College Worship Team

Comedian: Bob Cate will be there on Monday evening. You will not want to miss him.

Workshops: There will be workshops, given by fellow small church pastors, for you to attend. More information below.

Tuesday night supper is not provided. This is a time for couples to have a date night supper or for groups of pastors to go out for supper.

There will be time on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons to rest or go exploring in the beautiful Banff area.

Keynote Speaker: Mark Buchanan

Mark is Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology at Ambrose Seminary in Calgary, Alberta. He is an author and speaker. He enjoys scuba diving, fishing, and motorcycles. He is the author of eleven books, including most recently the novel David: Reign (Book Two of a trilogy on the life of King David), and God Walk: Moving at the Speed of Your Soul. He and his wife Cheryl lead New Story Community, a ministry that promotes the flourishing of Indigenous women in Canada.


Dollars and $ense: Financial Stewardship for the Small Church Pastor

Come and learn some tools that will help you with personal financial stewardship as you seek to fulfill your calling as the pastor of a small church.  My hope is that at the end of this breakout session you will be further equipped to not just survive in your personal finances, but to thrive, so that you can continue to live out God’s generosity to a broken and hurting world.

Presented by Rev. David Bradford pastor of Brooks Alliance Church (Brooks, AB) – started there in 2011. He has been in full-time pastoral ministry since 1999.

Serving Your Community

Our churches are uniquely positioned to be on the front line in blessing the place God has called us to.  Intentionally focused churches have the opportunity to influence their community in creating belonging (i.e. social cohesion and capacity) between the church and the community being served.  This workshop will look at how a witness is created in a local context based upon a biblical framework of serving. 

Presented by Rev. Dr. Kevin Driver pastor of Banff’s Full Gospel Church for 25 years.

Dealing with the Impact of Conflict

There has been a lot of good stuff written and taught regarding the skill of navigating conflict.  That said, despite the wisdom and skills that are gained, sometimes they just don’t seem to work – or at least work as fast or well, or in the way we might like.  This workshop is an informal discussion related to how we navigate the impact of conflict on ourselves and our ministries.  How does a pastor navigate the emotions of conflict in a way that doesn’t overwhelm their ongoing ministry when the “skills” haven’t worked and the conflict still persists?  Using the wisdom in the room, this workshop will attempt to discuss and provide some insights into this.

Rev. Kevin Roberts has been a pastor for 26 years, 19 of them were as a bivocational pastor. He is currently serving at Fort Macleod Alliance Church in Fort Macleod, Alberta.

Rest & Renewal for Ministry Leaders – Learning to live within one’s limits

In his book Margins, Richard Swenson asks whether there is a speed limit to life? He observes that many of us live as though there isn’t a speed limit. He says “we want to be all things to all people all of the time all by ourselves, and so we get all stressed out.”
It should come as no surprise that Christians in general, and pastors in particular, are not exempt from the stresses and strains of busy lives, and what we experience and how we respond to it is having and will have an impact on us and those we serve.
In this workshop we will identify some of the ways overload and lack of margin impact our lives and strategies will be presented for dealing with the deficits which come from being overloaded and over extended.

The presenter, Paul R Warnock has been a pastor for 30+ years, serving in rural, remote rural, and transitional roles. He is a co-founder of the Rural Church Pastors Network (RCPN) and is on the Board for Small Church Connections.

How can I make disciples when life is so busy?

“Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” – Jesus. 
If making disciples according to Jesus is not an option but a command for everyone, how do we begin shifting disciple-making to a priority in our lives and churches? True disciple-making is a lifestyle you live  … not ‘another program’ of the church. Join two pastors for a discussion on disciple-making. 

Kelly Steffen is a Professor of Church Leadership at Prairie College and Pastor of Discipleship and Leadership Development at The Rock Community Church.

Dr. Tim Beadle is the Disciple-Making Pastor at Foothills Alliance.