On November 15, I celebrated the privilege of being UBC’s pastor for the past 7 years. The longer I serve in ministry the more I realize that I am less a gift to you, and you are more a gift to me. Thank you for putting up with, praying for, listening to, even following me over this season.
One thing that is afforded me (upon recommendation by the Personnel Committee and the elders) at this season of life and ministry with you is a sabbatical. A sabbatical is not an extended vacation, though it does provide rest and rejuvenation. A sabbatical, for the minister, is a time to break from the regular duties of ministry in order to be refreshed and refocused for another season of ministry. For many, it includes time to focus on writing and advanced studies. My hope is to do all of these things.
The elders have recommended that I take my sabbatical from January 13 – March 31, 2014. I have agreed to the timing and want you to know what to expect. Below are some of my goals during this upcoming sabbatical:
- Reflect and journal on the past 7 years of ministry, taking note of successes, failures, and hopes for the future.
- Take care of my family. Ministry is arduous and hard on family life. For us, the greatest benefit will most likely come in the form of a “reset” in our daily schedule, bolstering our time together in family worship and fun. Also, I look forward to being more “hands on” in homeschooling our kids.
- Develop leadership skills. I know that I am both called and gifted to lead, but it doesn’t come as naturally to me as shepherding you through teaching. I plan to visit other pastors who I see as unusually gifted at leadership in the local church to gain insight, ideas, and encouragement.
- Work on a discipleship book. Since finishing my doctorate in 2009, I have long desired to put my dissertation into a more accessible book. I hope to spend time writing during this break.
Most of my time will be spent here in town, with occasional trips to seminaries and churches for meetings and study. In my absence, the elders will give leadership to preaching, counseling, and the overall membership duties I regularly exercise. John Mueller will assume leadership of the ministry staff. This is a great opportunity for you to pray for me, your elders, and to embrace being led by a group of godly men rather than one.
Thank you for affording me the opportunity to be refreshed and refocused in this way!
Making Disciples with You!