Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I'm Taking a Sabbatical

Pastors rarely serve a church that understands the need for sabbatical. Congregations tend to have very high, sometimes unreasonable, expectations. They expect a pastor to give and give of himself without the opportunity to recharge.

Conferences and conventions are not a vacation - they are hard work. They are necessary to stay abreast of what God is doing in the Kingdom, but they are not time off. They can be inspiring and motivating, but no physical or emotional restoration takes place. Even events called "retreat" are rarely an actual retreat. Most "retreats" have jam packed schedules, sessions, interaction, and professional development.

After 23 years of pastoring and 30 years of ministry, here is what I have learned:
  • All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
  • I think, dream, and lead on another level when I take occasional breaks.
  • You need tension to grow. You also need release. Resting a muscle that you've exercised is as important as exercising. The tension is partially destructive. The rest brings repair.
  • I used to live a life largely devoid of reflection. That changed 2 years ago thankfully. I’m wiser and slightly more balanced. Elected rest beats forced rest.
  • A change of place and a change of pace equals a fresh perspective.
So, Yvonne and I are off to a destination unknown for the month of March. We will be reading, writing, reflecting, meditating, journaling, and praying alone with God without a schedule. I call it "seclusion with God." We will be listening for His voice, His will, and His direction. When we return April 1, we hope to be refreshed, recharged, rejuvenated, and clear with a vision for the future.

No comments: