We are just under two months until my planned sabbatical begins (which means it is less than 2 months to Christmas, don’t panic).
If you missed the previous post, 3 Months To Sabbatical, access it here.
I want to begin by expressing my deep gratitude towards the church for the way this news has been received over the past 10 months since it was first announced. In preparing for the announcement and implementation I had anticipated at least a few objections and complaints to arise. Yet all of the feedback to me has been supportive, encouraging, and even excitement for me to have this time of rest and renewal. Thank you. I feel deeply loved and appreciated.
I have spent many months reading, listening to podcasts, and discerning a good plan for my sabbatical. If you’ve also been thinking about increasing rest in your life, I commend Ruth Haley Barton’s book Embracing Rhythms of Work and Rest: From Sabbath to Sabbatical and Back Again. As I am just a couple of months away, my anticipation is growing (and my to do list has lengthened!)
What do you hope to gain out of this experience?
My sabbatical has several purposes. The first will be a season of rest. The cycle of ministry is non-stop and the people business is 24 hours a day. We have a saying in church world that “Sunday is always coming.” There is always a sermon to prepare, people to connect with, planning future events, and dealing with the crisis of the week. A decade of planting, organizing, growing, a building project straight into a pandemic takes its toll. Whenever we are in the pressure cooker of ministry, we may not realize how tired we are, the stress, and the affects on all our relationships. So I anticipate allowing my mind to rest, as well as my body.
Secondly, I hope you get a better pastor on the other side of this. Just like your car needs fuel, I need to fill my tank. I’m in a season post-COVID where the tank is running low and the creativity needed for the future requires new inspirations. One of things I am really looking forward to is being able to attend various churches on a Sunday to pour into my tank and reignite flames of inspiration. Only a couple of Sundays a year do I get to attend a church outside of RHC. I look forward to learning from other churches, seeing how they are reaching their communities, and asking good questions. I want to be a better leader, a better preacher, and increase my ministry effectiveness. This sabbatical should create some space for me to reflect, read, and process at deeper levels.
How can we best support you during this time?
I would covet your prayers for me and my family. You can ask the Lord for renewal, safety in our travels, and encouraging time with family and old friends. Our initial plans were to begin our first week in Israel. I was particularly pumped about scuba diving in the Red Sea. We bought plane tickets and 5 days later the war broke out. We’ve pivoted to something else, but I’m asking God for a covering over our plans.
Lean in, not out. I encourage you to step forward to serve or continue to serve in your areas of ministry with diligence. There might be a temptation to back off while I’m away. I believe that would be unhealthy and unhelpful because it communicates that your participation is dependent on me. I hope your commitment to this church runs much deeper and wider than that. The church is made up of the entire body of people and it bigger than any one person. You are needed and important to the ongoing work of the church. It would be incredibly encouraging to me if the church continued to grow in size and scope of ministry while I was away.
In a few weeks we’ll be sharing the line up of speakers we have planned. I’m already jealous I won’t be there to hear them myself! We’ve got an amazing beginning to 2024 planned.
Thank you for your ongoing encouragement and love. If you have additional questions, please message me. I’d love to answer them.