Sunday, April 13, 2014

Eight More Weeks (but who's counting?)

By now most of the RCC family knows that I will be on sabbatical this summer from June 9 through August 11. This time represents a (almost) total break from work and ministry and will be an opportunity for me to recharge and reconnect with God, myself, my family, and my friends. It is also just one more outpouring of God's unmerited "more" on my life.

Words can not express my appreciation to both our elders (who view this time as a long-term investment in both the RCC family as well as my own) for initiating the break and to each of you from Reidsville Christian Church for your consistent support of Kerri, Wyatt, and me. While I believe this is a good and necessary thing, I know it will not be an easy thing. I love what I do and being away from it (especially the weekend teaching) is going to be a challenge.

One thing I am confident of is the amazing opportunity this provides for our elders, ministers, and staff. The prospect of each of them being able to lead you in new and different ways with the gifts God has given them is an exciting thing!

Some of you have asked what my plans are. My “unplanned” plans include:
  • Spending the first couple weeks just trying to unwind and catching up on some things at the house that have long needed my attention.
  • Participating in some in-depth training at Logos Bible Software in Bellingham, WA (and of course geocaching in OR, WA, and Canada) during the last week of June, then performing two wedding ceremonies locally during the July 4th weekend.
  • I believe the final five weeks have the potential to be the most beneficial. The first four are completely unplanned (which again is extremely uncomfortable). I hope to do a lot of reading and scripture memorization, but I am intentionally not going to plan or prepare any future teaching or programs. Instead, I want to be open to what God has to say during this unique time rather than “plan” what I think should be next. I will begin the month of August performing a third wedding ceremony, followed by a week spent with my family on Mackinac Island as the nine weeks conclude.
Here are a few things you can pray for and with me:
  • Pray that God would bless this time of rest. The word for “sabbatical” has the same root as “sabbath” – which means “rest.” As I explained at our congregational meeting, I do not do a good job with this and am hoping to discover some new habits that will help prepare me for the next season of ministry. Pray that I will truly be still and know that He is God. Pray for renewal spiritually, emotionally, and physically.
  • Pray that God would bless this time of family. Because Kerri will continue to work during most of the summer, we hope to keep things at home just as “normal” as possible. However, because of your graciousness, we are planning to do some fun things together as a family as well. Throughout the summer and beyond, pray that I would love God by loving my family.
  • Pray for our elders, ministers, and staff, that God would grow them in their gifts and wisdom, and in their love for God and His people.
  • Pray for Frank Dodson, Harry Gill, Scott Patterson, and Clay Perkins as they lead you in the majority of the summer teaching. Support them with your attendance. Let God speak to you through new voices on Sunday and etch into each of your hearts a clearer grasp of this amazing mission we are all on to grow as Jesus’ disciples.
You can read about my summer - the books I’m reading, the places I’m going, the things God is revealing - here on my blog, but hey, there are no promises it will get updated with any regularity. I mean, look how long it's been since my last post!

Kerri and I are so thankful for this gift of time and space that we believe will allow our family to experience joy, rest, and connection together, as well as equip me personally to be a better pastor for God’s flock and the RCC family.

I simply can not wait to see what "more" God has in store for all of us!