My sabbatical begins in a couple of weeks and I make no apologies for looking forward to the “time out, time off, and time away.” It’s almost as if my soul senses the approaching leave and I realize how I am more spiritually spent than I ever knew.
So, what do I plan to do about the situation and how will I spend the time? Obviously, a bit of rest is near the top of my to-do list. But I also hope to visit churches on Sunday mornings for at least two reasons. One reason is to satisfy my own worship needs. It may come as a surprise to you that my concern with how well our worship at MBBC connects with attendees rarely enables me to leave on Sundays with a sense of having engaged in meaningful worship myself. That may not be ideal, but it’s my reality. So, I look forward to spending some needed time in pews (or chairs as the case may be).
Another reason is to see what other congregations are doing that I think might translate to our situation. I understand that churches are much like snowflakes in terms of their uniqueness, but I have found over the years that when the Holy Spirit is up to something somewhere else, it merits my attention and prayerful concern over how the Spirit might move in the same way in my church. So, I’ll be attending large and small churches, with traditional and contemporary worship, led by multi-staff teams and solo practitioners. My prayer is that I’ll glean a host of ideas to bring back home for possible implementation.
And I plan as well to do a bit of reading. I’ve already compiled a list of books that I want to pour over, some of which are theological and some not. Some will be just pure fun. But every book can strike some chord that leads me to ponder my own calling and how I can be more faithful to it.
Since we’ve moved to this weekly enewsletter, I’ve done a lot of writing. Combine that with the monthly guide and the weekly sermon manuscript and I don’t know that I’ve ever written as much as I have over the last year. A part of me says it might be good to put the keyboard away for the next ten weeks. But there’s another part of me that says it also might be good to check in from time to time to let you know what I’m learning and experiencing.
So, I’ll do my best to maintain this weekly blog, though if there is a week or two when nothing comes to mind or heart, I trust you’ll understand. Just pray that this time will be beneficial in every sense of the word so that when I return, I’ll be ready to give of myself even more to guide us into the good future God has for us to know.
“Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10a).