Greetings in the name of Our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ,
Over the last few weeks I have been writing about my upcoming sabbatical, the reasons for it, what I am doing, etc. I thought this week might be a good time to write about how you, the congregation might grow and benefit from this "sabbatical time."
Part of the vision in my sabbatical is that the parish will benefit from renewed leadership through lay ministers who are physically and spiritually refreshed and who will be able to engage new ideas and ministry. They will engage and get to know people better and share their vision with others. It is hoped that more of the parish will be involved and that this will be maintained when I return. This allows the parish the opportunity to be exposed to new leaders, styles and ministries that will benefit All Saints.
A sabbatical for the minister does not have to be met with anxiety and inactivity. During the minister's absence, the sabbatical can provide a means of partnering for effective ministry within the parish. It may become an opportunity for individuals to discover their own particular gifts that could benefit the church after my return.
Jim Davis, Senior Warden for an Episcopal Church in Virginia, during their rector's sabbatical wrote, "I feel we [the parish] benefited by this experience as much as he did. . . . We had to make decisions based on meaningful discussion and not by just looking to (our rector) to tell us the answer to whatever issue we had. . . . (He) returned from his time away with revived enthusiasm in every aspect of his role as rector. Since he has returned, we have added additional services, programs, and attendance. . . . The congregation feels the renewed energy we have."
The sabbatical period can provide a time of growing for individuals and for the parish as well, with worship teams getting excited about creative plans. Individuals may discover a new vision for ministry, evangelism, outreach, etc. while others may find opportunities to step into new roles. The parish benefits from the opportunity to discover leadership skills by assuming some administrative and pastoral duties in the pastor's absence. Sabbatical can be a time of discovering new strengths for ministry within the parish. It is a reminder that the laity are listed first in the orders of ministry in the catechism in the BCP. It is a hope that a new and exciting ministry of the laity will emerge.
Sabbatical is a time of growth, risk, and change for everyone; these processes will take place in the rector, their families, and within the parish. These are also times of beginning again, refreshment, renewing vision, and reconnecting with those influences that led us into ministry and to service at All Saints in the first place.
It is my hope that this time of sabbatical is refreshing and new for all of us!
See ya Sunday!
In God's Love,
All Saints Messenger >