I began my sabbatical on January 1st and merged back into church life last week on Ash Wednesday. In 33 years of ordained ministry, it was the first time I’d ever been away from pastoral ministry for more than two weeks at a time. It took a leap of faith – but has already bore valuable fruit.
First, my Lily Foundation pastoral study project was a success. I had set a goal of creating a new story about Israel’s exile in Babylon and the formation of the Old Testament that could be told in the form a graphic novel. With the help of some creative people, that story came together in a powerful and unexpected way.
Secondly, my experience of Sabbath confirmed some things for me. It confirmed that First Christian has an incredibly faithful team of staff and lay leaders. Knowing the church was in their capable hands helped me experience genuine Sabbath rest and renewal. Being on Sabbatical also had another unexpected reward: it confirmed exactly how happy I am to be your pastor and to be a part of this ministry we share. I look forward to many more years of being and sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ!