Well, my first week of my first ever Sabbatical is coming to an end. For those that did not know, I am taking a 4 ½ month Sabbatical this Spring. It is, honestly, long overdue. As I outlined in my final sermon before leaving, this is not a vacation, but rather a time for part rest, part professional development, and part spiritual renewal. It’s a time to recharge, refocus, and get renewed. It’s a time for me to hand off the burden of preaching, church administration, and decision making in order to concentrate my energy on developing spiritually and academically.
My primary focus over the next four months will be school. I am taking 13 units at Gateway Seminary in hopes of making significant headway on my Master of Theological Studies degree. For the first time in 27 years, I will be a full-time student. Pray for me! I am also focusing on spending some extended times with the Lord to specifically seek His direction for me as a leader as well as direction for CrossPointe Church moving forward. With a move to a new location in our future, there is much to organize and navigate. This cannot and will not be done in my own wisdom. I must hear from the Lord clearly and follow obediently. I am also attending another church’s Sunday worship services during this time. It gives me an opportunity to be fed spiritually, as well as glean from another church leadership different methodologies and strategies for doing ministry in a context like the one we are moving too. The entirety of my walk with Christ has been in the same church. So, I look forward to the opportunity to see another ministry over an extended period. And, even with the rigors of keeping up with my academic load, I will still carve out times for some extended, physical rest.
Through the first weekend of Sabbatical, things still seemed ordinary in that it wasn’t much different than being on vacation. I was very pleased with the church I decided to attend, and I look forward to the weeks to come. It was a little strange being there alone, but there will be times when my wife and daughter come with. Monday morning, things got real. Classes started and there were lectures, reading assignments, questions to be answered in abundance. If I had to do all of this and still keep up my responsibilities at the church, I surely would have jumped off a bridge somewhere by Wednesday. But Sabbatical and the time it affords me has made this very manageable. I’m realizing how much mental capacity sermon preparation takes up in a week. Having that burden set aside is truly a blessing. I even slept in until noon one day! It has only been a week, but I’m enjoying it very much. I pray that all of you take an opportunity to take a Sabbatical if you can, or at least, keep one Sabbath day a week to be refreshed, renewed, and to draw closer to God.