Sabbaticals and Study Leaves
Greetings from my annual Study Leave! I hope all is well with you.
First of all, I want to thank the Personnel Committee and you all for the time given to me for this Study Leave. I need it. I love it.
Every 5 years, I earn a Sabbatical from our church. As you may remember, I took one in 2007 (we stayed at the US Center for World Mission in California) and another one in 2012 (we stayed mostly in New York City). I was due another one in 2017. However, I did not take that one.
Here is the deal – a few years ago, I asked the Personnel Committee to allow me annually to take the month of July out of the pulpit. I wanted to use this month to rest, study, pray, reflect, and plan for the next year. This has proven to be a very productive and fruitful endeavor for me. Each year I have been able to come back to the staff with themes, ideas, plans, sermons, etc — that allow them to plan around for the next year. God has really honored this in numerous ways.
So, I am on my annual Study Leave again. I have been studying, praying, researching, planning, and reflecting. I will be visiting churches in Dallas and New York City. I am meeting with leaders in churches in Dallas, New York, and Virginia. It has already been truly productive for me.
This year – I am working on more than an annual theme and plan. I am working on a five-year plan that I am calling Vision 2020. I want us to launch it in 2020. I am excited about God’s direction and sense His leadership for us over these next few years. Thank you for your prayers for me as I am seeking His wisdom.
I love to preach. In fact, I preached 24 times in June! However, I also enjoy the break in July from the demanding schedule of weekly sermon preparation. This allows me the time to focus on plans and direction.
I may take a longer Sabbatical some day – as I sense I need it and with the Personnel Committee’s sanction. But, right now, I like the annual month approach. It is a rhythm that I enjoy and it is just enough time to make me anxious to get back into the pulpit!
I love you all. I am praying for you regularly. Thank you for your commitment to our church and your love for me and my family.