Every Seven Years

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I’m taking a sabbatical!

But in the seventh year, the land is to have a year of sabbath rest, a sabbath to the Lord. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards. – (Leviticus 25:4)

I am an ordained elder in the Church of the Nazarene. Every seven years, a pastor is allowed a sabbatical. And mine is fast approaching. I served as the Pastor of Outreach in my first assignment for six years. I then left that assignment to plant a new church. In September, it will be eight years since I left that assignment. So, August first, I will take a Sabbath rest for 30 days.

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Many people have asked me what pastors do on a Sabbatical. And the answer varies from pastor to pastor. After talking to a few clergy friends who have taken sabbaticals, I have discovered it’s a “create your own journey” sort of thing.

I will probably read a lot of books and definitely drink too much coffee!

I am not going radio silent. But I am delegating my regular pastoral duties to my Family Pastor and Youth Director. They are very capable leaders who will care for the flock with tender compassion.

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I have a one-week prayer retreat scheduled for the beginning of my sabbatical. I am also meeting with a friend for a coaching session about some ideas that are stirring. And I plan to do some writing and research and vision-casting for the future. It is a time for God to prune my heart and my ministry. He has the freedom to point me in new directions, to challenge me to dream new dreams, and to consider what the next seven years should look like for me in the Church.

If you are the praying sort, then I covet your prayers for the month of August. God has been faithful for the 26 years I have been following Him. I haven’t always liked it and I usually didn’t understand it. But He has always been faithful!

Not all of us have the opportunity to take a sabbatical in our areas of vocation. However, we should all use our vacation time. Vacation isn’t only about having fun. It is also a time for God to prune us, shape us, heal us, and move us to new things.

Dear blogging friends, look at your calendar and put that vacation on there. Schedule it or you will never take it.

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