Andrew: Sabbatical Renewal Update
If you missed church this Sunday, April 19th, I wanted you to be able to hear from me about the sabbatical renewal plans. So here is the text from that announcement.
The elders and deacons have given input and the elders approved the sabbatical committee’s plan for my sabbatical renewal from May through July of 2016 (about a year from now). An application for a grant was submitted last week. We will not hear anything from the foundation until August. So this is the last update until later this year.
You have heard from the committee but I also want you to hear from me. It strikes me that many of you may not know the brief history of our church.
11 years ago I began a journey in which God was clearly leading me to start a new church in this area. 9 ½ years ago we began meeting in a home in Woodlake. We started worshiping with about 90 people at Spring Run Elementary School. Over 3 years ago we initiated a fundraising campaign to purchase this building which in God’s amazing provision through your generosity we were able to do. Almost 2 years ago we moved into this building. We have had about 90 people join our church by professing faith for the first time. We have about 450 people in the congregation and average attendance close to 250.
There are 3 things that I and the committee feel like I need at this point.
- Rest – This has been an absolutely exhilarating experience to see God work. It is also exhausting. The strategy will be to establish regular rhythms of rest. One part of this will be extended times of solitude to commune with God. I need time to read Bible just for me. When reading always thinking of how to teach it. I need God to speak to me.
- Reinvest in my family – I feel this need because this year 2 of my kids will be in college and the other 2 are growing up very quickly. I cannot get that time back and want to be sure I have a chance to refocus proper attention to my family. This is actually one of the biblical qualifications for being a pastor. The strategy will involve significant family time and establishing new patterns of leading the family spiritually.
- Renew vision for ministry at SRPC – I have no intention of leaving SRPC. I am excited for the future. Up to this point the ‘future’ has been to get a church planted and established. Now it is time to consider how we sink deep roots in this community, how we grow our church and plant new churches. I want time to think, dream, and listen to God’s leading about what the years to come look like. The strategy will include learning from experienced pastors and churches—some of which are slightly past our stage as a church and some of which are quite a bit larger.
The congregation will focus on the same 3 goals during the sabbatical though it will look different. The specific actions for both me and the congregation will be finally determined late this fall.
Thank you for your support, questions, and encouragement. It is my joy to be your pastor.