I wanted to share with you some information concerning my sabbatical. For those who do not know a sabbatical is “…a prolonged hiatus, typically one year, in the career of an individual taken in order to fulfill some goal…” (Wikipedia). A sabbatical (specifically a pastoral sabbatical) is not a vacation, it is a time to get away to refocus, renew and reinvigorate through prayer, reflection and extensive study. That is what I will be doing, however, I will only be taking three months and I will continue to preach regularly.
As I mentioned last Sunday, the goal of my sabbatical is both spiritual and physical. Spiritually I will be meditating upon and studying the scripture through the help of the great pastor, teacher, and theologian John Calvin. My hope is to learn from his teaching as well as from his personal life as a minister (Calvin wasn’t just some ivory tower theologian. All he did, he did to serve the people of God; he was a faithful shepherd of the flock). My studies thus far have already proven fruitful in this regard, bringing me to repentance, a renewed confidence in Christ and His Word and a revived hope for the future of our church (Calvin had many ups and downs in his own church!).
*to help give you a taste of the things I’m reading from Calvin, I will be sharing here on this blog quotes and comments from his writings, relating to many different topics.
In addition to the necessary spiritual growth and learning I hope to gain from this time, I also mentioned my physical health. As many of you know I suffer from severe sleep apnea (which also contributes to my migraines). Over the past year it has gotten worse and much of that has to do with my weight! As I have said from the pulpit I love my Philly cheesesteaks, Philly pretzels and Philly pizza! However, the seriousness of the situation has caused me to go on a restricted diet and begin a regular strength and cardio workout. My goal is to lose 40lbs. (As you pray for me to grow spiritually, also pray for me to shrink physically)
One last goal, related to the church, is to pray about and consider ways we can promote ‘community’ and ‘outreach’ in our congregation. In consultation with staff and Elders, I will be brainstorming ministry ideas for us to plan and implement in 2020.
Those are my goals. I have spoken to the staff and in my ‘general absence’ everything is covered. As I said, I am still preaching, I plan on still attending most Friday evenings (where I do scripture memory with the children) and will make myself available to the staff and congregation for any emergencies.
Thank you for giving me this opportunity and please be in prayer that God will use this time of renewal not only for me personally but for our Church corporately!