Finding a place of rest for pastors

Sunday, August 12, 2012
A view from the loft in the lodge at Shadow Rest.
The Rev. Fred Burgard, left, and Dr. Paul Cordes are co-founders of Shadow Rest Ministries north of Cape Girardeau. View more photos of Shadow Rest online at (Fred Lynch)

The Rev. Fred Burgard has been in ministry for 30 years, including serving as a pastor for two churches in Cape Girardeau. Burgard, along with Dr. Paul Cordes, co-founded Shadow Rest Ministries in 2004, and the first buildings were up in 2007. The facility is primarily used as a place for pastors and their spouses to get away for a period of rest. However, it also serves as a location for church staff meetings, retreats and other events.

To learn more about the ministry, go online to, email

In this week's Ministry Focus, Burgard answers questions about life in the ministry and how Shadow Rest Ministries has grown over the last several years.

Q: Tell us a little about yourself.

A: I'm the middle of 13 kids, eight brothers and four sisters. I have been married for 38 years to Sharon, who works in the athletic department at Southeast Missouri State University. We have two children: Joshua, who is married to Tami, and they have three boys; and our daughter Jayme is married to Joshua. They have three girls. I tell people I have six grandbabies, one of each kind. Each has their own unique personality.

A small lake graces the grounds of Shadow Rest.

Q: How long have you been a member of your faith, and what led you to the ministry?

A: I became a Christian, a follower of Christ, in 1971 at the age of 16 during what was known as the Jesus movement. I knew from the start that God had his hand on me. My ministry began with music, being a part of the early contemporary Christian music band. In time God called me to serve him full time. I have served as a youth pastor, missionary and pastor and now director of Shadow Rest Ministries

Q: Shadow Rest Ministries has grown in recent years. Tell us about how you've seen the ministry grow?

A: Shadow Rest Ministries is place designed for those who are in the ministry to come and rest. The Southeast Missourian did an article on us when it began. We had a pastor call after seeing the article, and the rest is history. Our only advertisement comes from people telling people about us. Most weekends are booked throughout the whole year. Hopefully this fall we will be building a log cabin from the logs that my son and I have cut down on our property. We have two very nice cabins and a yurt. As far as I know, the only yurt in the area. We also have a nice lodge which also has sleeping areas.

Q: What's the greatest blessing you've experienced in the ministry?

The Prayer Chapel at Shadow Rest.

A: My greatest blessing has been seeing my children serving God and now seeing them raising their children to serve him.

Q: What's the greatest challenge you've experienced in the ministry?

A: My biggest challenge has been taking the steps to serve God, and not knowing what lies ahead.

Q: How did the name Shadow Rest come about?

A: My wife, Sharon, actually came up with the name. It comes from Psalms 91:1: "He who dwells in the shelter of the most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty." We wanted a place for people to be able to come and rest, to spend time with God and be restored.

Q: In addition to serving as a retreat for pastors, what other events do you all hold at the facility?

A: The place is being used for quilters, scrap bookers, church staff meetings and retreats, marriage retreats, weddings, family reunions, Bible studies, and some community groups and university groups have used the facility.

Q: Having been a pastor and now working in a ministry that is in large part geared for pastors, what's your advice for those in the ministry?

A: Find a godly mentor who can help you make wise decisions. Pick your battles, decide what is really important and trust God to work things out.

Take time for yourself and your family. When it is all said and done that's what really matters.

The interior of a yurt at Shadow Rest. It is described as a circular, all-weather tent.

Q: What's your favorite Bible verse and why?

A: My verse is Philippians 1:6: "Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." God has been working in my life for 40 years, and hopefully I will be around for many more. But he is still working in my life, and I know someday I will be complete in him.

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