Church family, this week April and I are back to our normal church routines after a month of vacation time. And we wanted to express our love and gratitude for all your support and love.
Just for some clarity, this time of rest was just taking all of my annual vacation all at once for the purpose of gaining deeper rest. I have sensed some deeper fatigue and felt this was wise. Through some advice and reading I concluded that there was something deficient in my shorter breaks. For me, and many other pastor’s like me, it can take almost a week to just “turn off” the pressures of ministry. What can happen if a break is short is that just when I am starting to rest, it is time to go back to work. The aim in taking more time off was to address some deeper issues of rest that are needed for me as a pastor so that I can stay healthy, avoid burn out and run the long marathon with joy and faithfulness. Unfortunately, it is easy to skip time off in church work and I have done that too often over the last 10 years. Even when we have been away from FGC, there are times when I am still focused on church matters by attending conferences during time away. I believe that I am growing in this and learning more about the discipline and worship of rest. We have discussed the wisdom of a sabbatical at some point in the future which would be outside of normal time off. But that is a discussion for the future.
We did enjoy the time off, and definitely experienced some needed refreshment. We are thankful for the support and respect of the church in giving us some space. Your encouragement and prayers mean so much and we are freshly aware of how much we love and value your friendship and fellowship. We are also thankful for those who serve and how well the church carries on when I am gone. This is certainly a sign of grace!
Another benefit of taking time away is that we got a chance to visit other churches, something that rarely happens in the normal course of the year. This gives us an appreciate for the larger body of Christ, an opportunity to worship without any leadership obligations, and a sense of what it is like to be a visitor someplace else.
I have already jumped back into a regular work week and am looking forward to seeing you all on Sunday. We are planning a 3-week sermon series on the importance of scripture in our personal and corporate lives. Please keep this in your prayers!