Centuries ago, churches and academic institutions began to appreciate the wisdom of giving professors and ministers time for personal and professional renewal. This wasn’t considered a vacation benefit for the Sabbath-taker, it was seen as an investment into the long-term health of the organization. In the modern context, more and more other types of companies, institutions and organizations are recognizing the value of offering specialized time away from the office for a dedicated period of rest, research, and/or study.
I am super thankful that the First Pres congregation has a Sabbatical Policy in place and am looking forward to this 12-week period that will begin in mid-January!
Thanks to all of the well-wishers I’ve heard from since the Personnel Committee shared the news with the congregation earlier this fall! I wanted to share a few more details about the upcoming Sabbatical, partially in response to a few of the questions I’ve received from those unfamiliar with pastoral sabbaticals.
I’m not going anywhere.
I mean I may travel some during the Sabbatical period and it’s possible that a part of that travel could find me in slightly warmer environments for a bit; but a Pastoral Sabbatical is not connected to pastoral transitions from leadership in the congregation. I still feel called to be a pastor at First Pres and don’t have any plans for a change.
We’ve got an awesome Sabbatical Preacher lined up.
Rev. Tim Blackmon from Wheaton College is going to be such a blessing to this community. Tim will be preaching something like 10 of the 12 weeks that I am away on Sabbatical. He won’t be involved in church leadership with the staff or outside of preaching on Sunday mornings.
One of the things I’ll be doing is completing my doctoral project.
Remember that feeling when your homework was almost due, and you were not close to done? Yeah, so it turns out you can feel that way as an adult! I have submitted the first three chapters of my doctoral project to Fuller Seminary, but I have much more reading, research and writing to do before the final draft is ready. The title of the project is “Discipleship in the Earbuds: Building a Congregational Podcast” and, when it’s all done, I’ll be excited to share what I’ve learned with the congregation.
The Church Staff will carry on effectively.
You all likely know just how passionate, committed and talented the other members of the First Pres staff are. During the Sabbatical they will continue to collaborate and communicate with one another and, supported by their elders and the Personnel Committee, will continue pursuing their various ministry goals and responsibilities. I’m sure, though, they would appreciate all the prayers, support and encouragement you can offer them during this season.
I hope this is helpful. As always, if you have other questions, thoughts or wonderings, I’d be happy to chat about those between now and January 14.