September 15, 2017
Dear Eastridge Family,
I wanted to let you know about a blessing the church has given me. The church board voted at my last pastoral review with the District Superintendent to give me a “Sabbatical.” Some of you may be wondering what is a “Sabbatical?” The word “Sabbatical” has different meanings depending on the context in which it is used. It has one meaning in the academic community, another meaning in its biblical usage, and still another in many secular settings.
A sabbatical, in simple terms, simply means time off for rest and/or study. The time can be a few days, a few weeks or, on rare occasions, a few months. The church is giving me paid leave for six weeks for rest, spiritual rejuvenation and, to do some deeper study. I have been making some plans to take a seminary class on the Book of Philippians (so you can expect I will probably preach through the letter when I return); attend a prayer retreat at Asbury Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky, with my accountability partners; spend some time visiting other churches; and spend some time with Stephanie.
Pastor Eva and the church board will be taking care of my responsibilities while I am away during the sabbatical. I am certainly grateful for this opportunity and I want to say “Thanks” for this blessing.
Thom Rainer who was a pastor and serves as a church consultant wrote an article where he spelled out 5 Reasons your Pastor Should Take a Sabbatical. Here are his five reasons:
1. A pastor has emotional highs and lows unlike most other vocations. In the course of a day, a pastor can deal with death, deep spiritual issues, great encouragement, petty criticisms, tragedies, illnesses, and celebrations of birth. The emotional roller coaster is draining. Your pastor needs a break—many times a break with no distractions.
2. A pastor is on 24-hour call. Most pastors don’t have an “off” switch. They go to sleep with the knowledge they could be awakened by a phone call at anytime of the day. Vacations are rarely uninterrupted. It can be an exhausting vocation, and a sabbatical can be a welcome time to slow down.
3.Pastors need time of uninterrupted study. It doesn’t usually happen in the study at church or home. There is always the crisis or need of the moment. Church members expect sermons that reflect much prayer and study. The pastor’s schedule often works against that ideal. The sabbatical can offer much needed, and uninterrupted, study time.
4. Pastors who have sabbaticals have longer tenure at churches. Though my information is anecdotal, I do see the trend. And while I cannot prove a cause-and-effect relationship, I feel confident that pastors who have sabbaticals are much more likely to stay at a church because they are less likely to experience burnout.
5. Pastors who have sabbaticals view the time off as an affirmation from their churches. I have heard from many pastors who share with me a sentence like this one: “I know my church loves me because they give me a sabbatical.” Pastors need affirmation. Sabbaticals can accomplish that goal.
We will celebrate a baptism service with several people being baptized after the Sunday morning worship service on September 24th. Following the baptism service, we will have a potluck dinner. If you would like to be baptized contact Pastor Andy or Pastor Eva. There will be a class for all those interested in baptism this Sunday morning at 9:30am.
Pastor Eva is having another membership class starting October 1st, at 9:45 am during the Sunday school hour. Please talk to her if you are interested in becoming a member of Eastridge Church of the Nazarene.