This is my last blog post for a while - as I am taking what is somewhat of a sabbatical. This is the first time I have ever done anything like this in the 21 years I have served on a church staff. I wrote "somewhat of a sabbatical", as sabbatical is supposed to happen every 7 years and is a time of total rest. This sabbatical is taking place once every 21 years and is partial rest. But this is a time period where I will be taking a 100% break from my role at Vintage Faith Church until June 24th. I posted what is happening on Sundays for the teaching in the worship gatherings while I am gone here.
For those who want to know what I will doing while on this break - during the first half I will be 100% disconnecting from blogs (reading or writing them), no Facebook, Twitter or email. This will be a time to reflect on life, God and this past season of ministry. I will be going to Hawaii and stay at my friends condo for 5 weeks and this is a time of just rest, praying, thinking, reading and being with family. The photo above is Becky and the girls at the beach by my friends condo from last time we were there. So that will be the same scene we shall be experiencing for the first several weeks of this break. I won't be bringing any church leadership books with me, but will be reading some books ranging from C.S. Lewis's ScrewTape Letters (thanks Andrew for the recommendation) to Ace Frehley's biography (the original guitar player for KISS) and some theology books I have been wanting to read, but haven't had time to. When we return back home from Hawaii, I will then have a week with Katie and Claire on my own while Becky goes off with her sister on a trip. So that is a father/daughter time which should be fun.
Then for the second half of this break from my role at Vintage Faith Church I will heading up to Portland for part of it. I have for some meetings with George Fox University about the Origins Project that is launching in September and doing some interviews with leaders there. And hanging out with Ricky McKinley, and my brother and some other friends while there. And seeing Roger Water's "The Wall" with Ricky and others while in Portland. Then we will be heading to Santa Barbara and visiting with my friend Britt Merrick (Reality Church) and his family (our wives got to meet at a retreat we were both on, so that should be fun getting the families together). Britt has a very excellent book that I just read the manuscript of called Godspeed: Making Christ's Mission Your Own. On that trip I will be meeting and interviewing church leaders and seeing my friend Dave Kinnaman while there also. So the second half is a somewhat of a working break, but I won't be back yet in my role with Vintage Faith Church. I will be visiting other churches during this time and look forward to being at other Santa Cruz churches. I rarely get to worship and be at other local churches, so we will be doing that during this second half of the break.
It should be an interesting time period for me, as I have never taken this long of a break from the ongoing role of local church leadership. I am not burned-out by any means, so this is not a burn-out-I-need-a-break time. Almost the opposite, as it has been a pretty sweet and fun time in our church and we have so many things in the planning with adding on two more worship gatherings, bringing on some new key staff and we have had an amazing surge of healthy growth this past season. So it is sort of a proactive time of getting away for both rest and relfection on how I am really doing which seems to only be able to get that from stopping for a while from all the activity of life. I see this break as a learning, visiting other churches, working on some outside of Vintage Faith Church projects and minsitres I am involved with - so both a rest but also learning time period and emotional refreshment from backing out of the normal weight of ongoing resposibility to gain some emotional refreshment and perspective.