In 1996 Dwayne had a clear call by God to develop a pastors retreat center. He and Rita ran a retreat center in Wisconsin for over 4 1/2 years. With God’s leading during this time they developed the self directed, ‘non program’ that is being used today. From 2001 to the present the Hanon’s, through Broom Tree Ministries, continue offering free retreats to pastor couples in various locations so that the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ may be strengthened.
The Mission of Broom Tree Ministries is to provide a gracious environment, secluded and private, protected with prayer, to which Christian leaders and their spouses can retreat from frantic schedules and become intimate with God so that He can refresh, refocus, restore, encourage, energize and equip them for the task to which He has called them.
What’s in a Name?
In 1 Kings 18 & 19 Elijah witnessed God unleash power from heaven and ignite the altar of worship. Then Elijah defeated and killed 450 prophets of Baal. Immediately following this extraordinary ministry experience, this mighty man of God ran for his life when Queen Jezebel threatened him. He ran into the desert depressed, took shelter under a broom tree and asked the Lord to take his life. God, however, let him sleep and provided food to strengthen him. After Elijah was strong, God called him to Mt. Horeb where He spoke directly to him in a gentle whisper.
It is this picture; God giving Elijah rest and food to strengthen him before Elijah could hear God’s gentle whisper; that inspired the name, Broom Tree Ministries. We witness this happening each retreat when weary pastor couples will take the time to rest and listen. God is faithful to meet them.
Overview and Biblical Perspective
Elijah experienced a mountain top ministry in 1 Kings 18 with spiritual revival for all Israel. He fought the prophets of Baal and prayed for fire from heaven to come down and ignite the Alter of the LORD. After this he prayed for the drought to end and when God did that He also gave him the power and stamina to outrun the chariots. The next day, after being threatened by Jezebel, he ran and hid under a broom tree and wanted to die. In James 5:17 we are reminded, “Elijah was a man just like us.”
What Elijah experienced is also true of what many pastors experience today when the adrenalin rush of preaching the Word, intense ministry and revival is followed by depression on Monday. Sustaining a pattern of elation followed by depression is a formula for disaster. Current studies indicate that only one in ten pastors will retire as a pastor.
- Pastors are called by God to lead people out of the morass and ever decreasing moral integrity of society and into the presence of Jesus.
- Highly educated, but being the lowest paid of professionals, limits their ability to afford the Sabbath rest they need.
- Congregants expect the pastor to be proficient in 16 major disciplines, which is a formula for disaster.
- The call to shepherd a congregation is a driving force in the pastor’s nature and therefore he will often sacrifice his own personal time with God and his family to meet the needs of the people.
- Broom Tree is here to redirect the pastor through intentional Sabbath rest where Jesus can and does challenge him to be a man of God as well as a man for God.
Mission – Purpose
Birthed out of a call by God and the condition of the pastorate in America, the retreat ministry of Broom Tree Began. The 5-day spiritual retreat is void of media, which provides the pastor couple time to experience God’s presence in a new and refreshing way. This breaks the tyranny of the urgent and encourages cognitive restructuring.
Since 1997 thousands of pastors on retreat have been revived using God’s model of restoration for Elijah; Rest, sustenance, and large blocks of time with God. He gives them direction, encouragement, strength and the resolve to continue the work He has given them.
Jill Briscoe stated it best when she said, “Broom Tree Ministries thrusts pastors into the presence of God.”
Broom Tree Ministries is a 501c3 public foundation and all gifts are tax-exempt