It's been three years since I used any of my stored up sabbatical time, but I'll put a small dent into it this August. I'll be taking a four-week study break starting August 3, as approved by the Governing Board. My number one professional goal is to get ahead on my preaching preparation by six weeks! Being ahead is great for planning our services, so it will be great for everyone who experiences them.
I'm excited that Vince Miller will be preaching three weeks and Tim Bubar will preach once in my absence in our series Prodigal God. I recently heard a outstanding message by Vince on this passage and I'm looking forward to him unpacking it even more. You're in for a treat. And I'm looking forward to hearing stories of lives impacted by series when I come back. I'll kick off the series the first weekend of August and finish it up in early September.
Last time I took a study break, someone asked a staff member what I was doing on my weekends. He explained, "Checking out other churches," meaning, seeing what other churches are doing. But, in the mind of this member, "checking out other churches" translated into, looking for a new job! Fortunately, rather than start a rumor, he asked a board member if it was true that I was looking for a new job and things were quickly cleared up.
It's really important for pastors to get out of what's familiar from time to time. It's personally and spiritually refreshing to be in a church service without any leadership responsibilities. But it also stimulates the creative juices. It helps me see areas of ministry where we are excelling and where we need improvement. It's one of the ways I learn best.
So I'm hoping and praying for a productive, refreshing and rumor-free study break. I'd I'd appreciate your prayers as well for all three.