Pioneering “Ministry to Ministers” Plans Major Expansion

Divide, CO (Feb. 28, 2014) – SonScape Retreats, a non-denominational ministry that serves Christian leaders around the world, has received an $8 million gift of property from the Green Foundation. The gift of Whitestone Inn, a four-diamond resort in Tennessee, will help SonScape expand its work in the eastern United States.

Founded in 1984 to address the unique demands of individuals and couples in full-time ministry, SonScape has helped more than 3,000 pastors, missionaries and parachurch leaders from more than 100 denominations and organizations. SonScape’s retreats help ministry leaders practice self-care, spiritual renewal, and work-life balance.

Whitestone’s location between Nashville and Knoxville gives leaders in the Southeastern and Eastern U.S. greater access to SonScape’s weeklong retreats. SonScape will offer five retreats at Whitestone in 2014.

Located on more than 400 acres of gentle rolling hills on the Tennessee River, Whitestone is a multi-use resort and residential property. The Whitestone Inn is a top-rated resort that is part of the Southern Living Collection. A popular site for couple get-aways, corporate staff retreats, and weddings, Whitestone remains open to the public and will continue to operate under its current management.

The Whitestone property was purchased and donated to SonScape by the foundation that is funded by the Green family, owners of the Hobby Lobby retail chain. Hobby Lobby founder, David Green, was the son of a pastor.

“For years we have prayed that we could make our retreats more accessible to leaders in the eastern half of the country,” said SonScape President Larry Magnuson. “This gift goes a long way toward answering those prayers.”

SonScape Retreats was founded and is staffed by former pastors who know firsthand the pressures ministry can place on leaders and their families. Studies show that many pastors and missionaries live overcommitted lives, neglect their own self-care, and struggle to maintain healthy relationships with God, family members and friends.

SonScape’s retreats offer Christian leaders rest, spiritual renewal and proven techniques for effectively coping with the pressures of ministry. Every year, the ministry offers scholarships to pastoral couples that do not receive continuing education or sabbatical funding from their churches or denominations. SonScape also educates laypeople about how to care for and love their leaders.

SonScape Vice President Mike Schafer and his wife Sandy have led retreats together for nearly six years. The couple is relocating to Tennessee in March to oversee the ministry’s expansion there.

“Thanks to the Whitestone gift, SonScape has been entrusted with an amazing resource,” said Mike Schafer. “We can’t wait to be a part of the transforming work this place will enable us to do in the lives of ministry leaders.”

For more information on SonScape Retreats, please see:

For more information about Whitestone Inn, please see:

For more information, or to request interviews with Larry Magnuson or pastors who have attended its retreats, contact Vicki Ceass at 888.766.7227 or

For information on the Green family and foundation, see a recent article from Philanthropy Roundtable.


Vicki Ceass


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