In light of entering my seventh year as the lead pastor, the board of ReCAST church decided to offer me a month long sabbatical and a bonus. I am so grateful for this opportunity to take the month of November to read, pray, and spend some time away in reflection.
I do not know where “pastor”rates on a scale of stressful jobs. Some suggest it is high on the list. I cannot speak to how it compares to school teachers with the constant pressure of 30 semi-interested children every single day. I do not know the pressures of the engineer who has deadlines, office politics, and tons of specifications and standards pressing in on them. I do not know the pressure of the contractor who has the passion to build but also has to deal with economic downturns, attempting to manage the estimates, pay the bills, AND build the stuff.
I am confident that every position warrants an extended period of time away. But few get this. For this reason, I am all the more grateful for this upcoming Sabbatical.
When I took on the mantle of lead pastor, planting ReCAST church in 2009, I knew very little about the rigors of a routine preaching schedule that has come to define my last six years. Every Monday a new text, a new idea, a new deadline (and this isn’t even the ministry . . . The ministry is the time I spend with people). I love preaching. I will miss it greatly during the month of November. But I look forward to an extended period of time to step out of that routine in order to listen more closely to God.
There is something funny that I find rise up in my soul as I consider a month away. “What if it crumbles? What if everything crashes and I come back to people upset and angry?” And then another thought wars with the first, ” What if everything goes great!? What if this proves that I am not really needed here?”
And these questions in my mind prove the need to search my soul and quiet myself before the Lord. I am NOT the thing holding ReCAST together. It will be fine in my absence. I am not needed, but I am called. God has chosen to do a few things through me in Mattawan and I am grateful. He has called me to lead this congregation and I am glad. But He does not NEED me to accomplish his will in this community and I am glad.
I would love to say a huge heartfelt thanks, in advance, to the board for this wonderful gift. I look forward to coming back, stronger, with a renewed vision and focus for our local church. It is a blessing to serve such a wonderful mess of people who are making strides to grow in faith, grow in community, and grow in service!