Usually when I want to ‘step away’ from the rigors of pastoring, I go somewhere by myself. I love being near big water or in the high desert – someplace with minimal interruptions, no cell service, and lots of interesting places to walk or sit and wait upon the Lord. This last time I stepped away, I spent time with my friend and his family in Sarasota. The time my friend and I spent talking about ministry, life, the energy it takes to do pastoral work, and how he structures his week was one of the richest times away I’ve ever had. I came home with several ideas that I’ve already put into place: do not schedule anything on Monday, its a day for calendar review and planning ahead; carry a small notebook and a pen with you, you never know when the Spirit will whisper; and every now and then, you just need to spend the money on a GOOD bottle of wine, simply because it is good. For someone who is a complete and total introvert who loves being alone, I learned that Matthew 18:20 is true: “…where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” Thanks be to God. And thanks be to really good friends.