This post is going up as my family and I are on our way out of state. Today is the first day of my sabbatical, and I thought it would be helpful to some if I shared what this is and why we are doing it, and how you can pray for us during this time away from ministry.
A sabbatical is an extended period of time away from ministry responsibilities for spiritual reflection and refreshment, to pursue biblical studies, or complete a project that will benefit the local church. Sabbaticals differ form church to church and pastor to pastor, and in my case the elders have asked me (told me) to take a month off to rest. They told me to enjoy my wife and kids, write, or do whatever I think would be best for my soul and family.
I'm not falling apart. My family is not in jeopardy. The ministry of Redeemer Fellowship is strong. Yet the elders, after much prayer and research, decided that full time pastors at Redeemer should take a sabbatical for their own good as well as the good of the church. In our case, sabbaticals come after 7 years of service.
So, at this very moment my family and I are driving out of the midwest toward a beach. Over the next four weeks I will be thinking strategically about the church and how we all can continue to be faithful to the Lord and what he has called us to do. I will also be writing. But most importantly, I will rest and enjoy my wife and children. No email. No phone.
While I am gone Jim Fowler will be preaching a series through the book of Jonah, so watch for that. It will be great!
If you want to pray for me and my family ask the Lord to refresh our spirits and revive our hearts, to draw us close together, and to have fun. Ask God to be at work in the hearts of our children. Pray that I would learn and write well for the good of the church. This is a humbling gift we have received and we want to honor the Lord with this time away.