This is technically Day 4, but I still want to share from yesterday.
The key moments for me were continuing my reading in ‘No Other Gods’ and having some sweet time of personal worship. I find it cool how the Lord can enter into fellowship with me while simply lying on my back in my hotel room with my earbuds in.
When we take the time for Him, He takes the time for us.
And as it is with most of my Sabbaticals, I have not done all that I originally intended to at the beginning of the week. And today reminded me that this is not necessarily a bad thing.
You see, I came upon a Tweet today asking for church leaders to share their story…particularly about their current ‘Phase’ of life and ministry. I could not resist. I love sharing my story, both the good and the less pleasant sides. If it hadn’t been for others telling their personal stories I may not be where I am today. So I share to encourage others.
Anyway, in doing this I want to share with you a personal quote I included when I emailed them. Here you go.
While I was thinking back over the past 6 months it dawned on me. God doesn’t wait until we are living on the mountaintop, free of pain and 100% sure of Him being right there with us, to ask us to do something HUGE for Him. Nothing happens to us that does not pass through His hands. This doesn’t mean that God necessarily ’causes’ all things to happen to us. It does mean, however, that when we’ve given God a definitive ‘yes’ He will be active, aware, and verbal in our relationship with Him regardless of what is going on around us. The critical thing here is to maintain healthy personal soul care. If we aren’t doing this it can become nearly impossible to hear His guiding voice or feel His involvement in our daily lives.
What about you? How have you been hearing from God recently? Leave a comment below.
I just love it when The Lord speaks to us outside of the ordinary. Don’t you? In the first day of my Sabbatical it took basically the entire day to simply unplug and transition. I began reading a book titled ‘No Other Gods’ which paved the way for me to really begin hearing His voice a lot today.
So here’s the gist of what I’ve been hearing Him speak into my life so far.
I am the Lord your God… (Exodus 20:2)
“Brent, I want you to be available to hear me when I need to share the deepest things in my heart with you. I need to know that you care as much about yourself and my Church as I do.” – God
A Sabbath, in it’s simplest terms, is a time of rest. I am fortunate to be on staff at a church that puts a high value on personal health. We are encouraged to take an additional day each month (or 3 days per quarter) for personal Spiritual rest and rejuvenation. This is the first church in 23 years of ministry where I’ve experienced anything like this.
Every time I am on a Sabbatical experience I like to journal my thoughts. It keeps me focused. It’s a form of meditation for me.
So, I’m out of town for 3 days. Mostly, I try to catch up on sleep and enjoy some much needed solitude. But I do have a few areas of focus for those 3 days.
Reading | A significant part of my reading plan does include the Bible and a couple different devotional resources. Additionally, I am reading ‘No Other Gods: Confronting Our Modern Day Idols‘ by Kelly Minter.
Prayer | I am very intentional to pray over my family. This is always first. I am also praying for the next 6 months of our new multisite church campus. Prayer for specific families, continued healthy growth, and renewed vision are key focal points this week.
Entertainment | I like to eat at places I usually don’t get a chance to eat at where I live. I will also try to watch 1 or 2 movies on Netflix, since I don’t normally have time to watch many movies during a regular work week. And adult coloring (a form of art therapy) is something new I’m trying this week in an effort to clear my thoughts. Looking forward to this.
Planning | This will include looking ahead at the next few months. Strategically making initial plans and doing a little self-evaluation as well. I will normally try to schedule my next 3-day Sabbatical during this time. If I don’t it will likely not happen when it should.
Have you had any kind of a Sabbatical experience before? What did you do? And if not, what part of this post sounds intriguing to you personally?
Join the discussion, leave a comment below.
Photo credit: pixshark.com
Church leaders are some of the worst examples of modeling healthy rest. I wrestled with this for years!
God even commands us to do it……yet we don’t.
Now, I’m not talking about a legalistic approach to the Sabbath, which includes checking off a ton of boxes to show we are ‘keeping the law.’ The deeper purpose of the Sabbath is so much more.
Taking one day every week and giving it Sabbath consideration does two things.
- It proves to God that we really do care about what He tells us.
- It forces us to create healthy margin in an increasingly busy society.
So…why do church leaders constantly struggle with taking a full day of rest?
Guilt | This is especially true of senior leaders. “The church is paying me to be the Pastor at all times.” No they’re not! You are in your leadership position to lead the congregation in healthy relationship to God. That means letting others see in you how to live the life God has called us all to live.
Poor time management | “There is work to be done every day of the week.” Yes there is, but it can be done in six days. Pre-plan your studying, phone calls, meetings, appointments, and regular tasks to fit into 5 or 6 days. This is what ‘keep the Sabbath holy’ means.
Savior complex | Can I just shoot straight on this one? If you think you can’t take a literal day of rest because someone in the church ‘might need’ you, there’s a problem. What eventually happens here is people in the church learn to lean more on us as pastors and less on their faith in Jesus.
May I offer you a challenge? Take one of your regular days off and give it Sabbath consideration. For me, that day is Monday. Sunday is church and leadership…that’s work.
Be sure to check out my post on ‘4 Tips To Having A Good Day Of Rest.’
If this helped you, I’d encourage you to share it with someone else who could use it today.
Join the discussion. Leave a comment below.
Below are my most popular posts on leadership. I’m sharing these with you for one key reason. I am looking to making a few small adjustments with my approach to my blog and I really need your input. Take a look.
Now tell me…which of these post did you like the most and why?
What aspects of the content did you find most helpful, and what material do I need to change or completely get rid of? Are there leadership topics/issues that I am missing?
I’d love your input. Either comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
(photo credit: www.jeffbullas.com)
Are you tired, stressed, or in any other way overloaded by the pressures of this life? Well, I have good news and bad news.
Just before Summer kicked in to full swing, I was able to take a few of my key leaders to the FAM Conference at Azusa Pacific University in CA. Its a new conference…their first year. And what an amazing experience it was! So many great speakers were there, including Doug Fields. My wife and I were able to sit in his final breakout session. He started off the hour with this quote:
The dark side of ministry = always more to do.
Wait…there’s a ‘dark side’ to ministry? (that’s sarcasm) Ha, ha, ha. If you’ve been in vocational ministry for even 6 months you probably know what Doug was referencing. Work, work, work only leads pastors to neglecting their own health, family, and living life to the fullest! Look, when God commanded mankind to honor a day of rest he didn’t include a special clause that excludes pastors. We need rest too! The real question is are you ceasing to work when you must? Stop! I can answer that question for you…and I don’t even know you. If ‘most’ of your weeks in ministry (in and out of the physical office) consist of 50-65 hours, you are slipping to the Dark Side.
Its true, there IS always more to do! Always one more phone call to make. That important email can’t wait until morning. I really need to be the one to visit so-and-so in the hospital. Etc…..etc……etc. The examples never end.
The bottom line is this: There’s no shortage of work for tomorrow, but rest for today is a rare commodity!
I ask you, how can you be proactive to address this and remain healthy enough for God to use you to your fullest ability?