The year was 2009, and I can remember the meeting vividly. The Leadership Team of our congregation passed a sabbatical policy for called staff. I felt it was a nice gesture but honestly had no intention of using it. I love my job. It doesn’t get much better than walking with people through the ups and downs of life and pointing them to Jesus. It’s awesome to see God at work in and through people, to see lives transformed along Jesus’ narrow way and God’s grace shared with others. I love telling people the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection for forgiveness and new life! I love my job… which is exactly why I’m taking a sabbatical. You see, God has allowed us to take what we do here and multiply it.
If you’ve followed me or my articles at all, you have found that I’ve focused a lot on the Beatitudes from Matthew 5, baptismal life, the Trinity, the dangers of mammon and the example of the first church. You may have also seen that I like to use nifty little stick figures and arrows to illustrate all this. Jesus has already given us the framework to understand, apply and multiply his teachings. It’s already so simple! It’s already so memorable! Jesus’ teachings binds our salvation together with our daily life into a radically different existence which is so uniquely and undeniably Christian. This is what changed the world! We need it again. My humble prayer has been that God would allow me to do my small part to nurture a generation of Christian leaders who will keep it all about Jesus.
It seems my prayers are being answered. I have been asked by LINC – Twin Cities to incorporate our discipleship emphases at Bethel into a yearlong discipleship training process called the Harvest Incubator for Missions. It’s an exciting opportunity to infuse Jesus’ teachings into a new generation of church leaders from all over the world who live right here in our city. I have the privilege of designing and writing a large part of the curriculum that will be used for the process. I can’t do justice to a project like this while performing my duties as pastor. Yet, I feel strongly that it is God’s call to work on this project. So, I did something I never thought I’d do. I asked for a sabbatical. On December 14, 2014 the members of Bethel Lutheran Church granted me a 10 week sabbatical beginning on January 12, 2015. I know a sabbatical is supposed to be rest, but I can’t wait to get to work!
What I would like to request of all of you is prayer. Please pray for me. The work of this sabbatical is no small undertaking and I do not underestimate my need for God’s strength and wisdom to supersede my own. I also hope to rest, recharge and visit other parts of God’s Kingdom to see what He’s up to. Please also pray for Bethel Lutheran Church. It is healthy for the body of Christ to exercise some “body parts” that have been operated by others. It makes us stronger and more united. It’s also not the easiest thing to do. Our God is good. By his grace we can all rest in Him.