I have the great privilege of serving a church that recognizes the benefits of providing their Senior Pastor with an annual sabbatical leave. Though I have not always been able to take the time away that has been offered, it has been a tremendous encouragement knowing that the church is willing to provide a month each year for me to get away from my normal responsibilities to rest, read, pray, write and study. Every time I have taken the full month I have come back refreshed and invigorated.
Last year I wrote a few posts on the benefits and practice of taking a sabbatical. They might be useful to pastors who want to introduce their churches to the concept or to churches who are investigating the idea. If so, you can read them here, here and here. I always build in time with family (or at least part of my family) and also some recreational down time. This year I do not have any hunts planned, unfortunately, but I do hope to take a couple of epic motorcycle rides and spend some quality time with my bride after what has been an unusually busy season in our lives the last several months.
I have also learned the value of unplugging from digital media for extended periods of time. So I do not plan to be on social media, or check email, texts or phone calls very much—if at all—over the next few weeks. My fellow elders and administrative assistant at the church will know how to contact me if necessary.
Apart from a small writing project, the biggest item on my agenda for the next month is reading. I plan to read or listen to the whole Chronicles of Narnia again with part of my family and finish a few excellent books that the previous few months did not see completed as well as read a few that have been on my waiting list. In addition, I anticipate starting an exposition of the Gospel of John in September so I plan to invest much time in studying for that.
If you pray and the Lord brings me to mind in the next few days, I would be grateful if you would ask Him to help me redeem this valuable time that Grace Baptist Church has given me. Pray also for my fellow elders who will shoulder additional loads in my absence.