It has been 11 years since I was first entrusted to follow the Lord’s call, from everything that had been familiar, with the “new” call to lead and under-shepherd God’s Church. But it was in 1999 that the journey really commenced, when we were led to the Harrisonburg First Church of the Nazarene. For nearly 7 years, God planted us in that local life-saving station to be nurtured, to grow, and to be discipled by some of the most gifted and godly servants I have ever known.
In 2002, while at the altar, God confirmed that I would be beginning a new phase to prepare for a life transition. And there could be no doubt that in order for my/our life to be redirected and uprooted in that time, it would take nothing short of the Lord Himself to navigate it. From furthering education after being out of college for 10 years to making energy, finances, and opportunities available – only He could have pulled it together. Confirmation came in God’s time as things started to fall into place, and as others verified what God was doing.
Some of what God dealt with and lead us through: Our current church and our involvement. Family demands. A very full-time job as a Manufacturing Manager. 2 young boys (at that time), 2 more who God gave us in the midst of it. Close friends and ties to a community I had grown up in. All of this – all of it – was going to be redirected as the call of God saturated my life. The only response I knew and could utter: “Lord, I will do what you say! I will go where you lead! Just lead the way and I will follow.”
So now, after 11 years serving in the Pastorate: 1 year on the Virginia District, and now 10 with the North Carolina District, I have been blessed to have been given and granted a Sabbatical. Yes, you heard that correctly: a Sabbatical. A time of refocus, renewal, and rest. And I must say: While I am very much looking forward to it and to what God will reveal, I am also a bit reserved. Rest? Downtime? Getting out of the routine? Being quiet and just listening to God?
For a Type AAA personality, that can be a daunting challenge. I recognize that. But I am sensing that for the long-term, for the betterment of Christ’s Kingdom, His Church, and those who do serve full-time in the ministry – it is absolutely needed. Far beyond a “want” there is the need. The need to refocus, to put first-things-first, to get back to living and leading from a position of strength and not weakness, and for long-term effectiveness and longevity – it is needed.
So many emotions, feelings, and thoughts fill my heart, mind, and soul. So much to pray for and think of and do. But even with the unknowns, I believe God is going to use this season in a variety of incredible, Spirit-filled ways. And I can’t wait to see how others respond, and step up, and utilize their God-given gifts. I am believing that God is going to do that and bring growth and vitality to His church.
I would like to thank our Leadership and Sabbatical Team at Bridgeway and our District Superintendent, Dr. Greg Mason. I so cherish and appreciate their support and approval because I know that they “get” the importance of it to the health of pastors, families, and the church body and mission as a whole. I would only ask for your prayers, for your deepest prayers in this time, and for your active continued participation in the ministries and mission we are called to work out. During this time: Get more anchored. Become more involved. Seek new opportunities to serve. Fill the gaps and step up. That is what I am hoping for, praying for, and believing in.
Without doubt, you are in my prayers and will go with me into this season. God is with us and He truly has our best interests at heart. You are loved by the One Who is love! BT!