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Gone But Not Forgotten


I wanted to announce to you that the elders have granted me a mini-sabbatical. It will begin this week.

We have been tremendously blessed at Providence over this past year. We have had unprecedented numerical growth. And I confess this has brought many challenges to me. There have been a host of counseling appointments and meetings that have invaded my personal time. I have allowed myself to plow too close to the margins and it has taxed my soul. I have failed to recognize my physical limitations. I need time to re-calibrate and refresh my batteries.

I plan on following Mark 6:31 (ESV) 31 And Jesus said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.’ I am going to spend some time with my family and Jesus for a little while for an extended four-week break. During this time, I am going to travel and receive some godly counsel from friends away from professional ministry. It is my hope that when I return and I will serve you even better. While I am away, please trust I will be praying for you. You will not be forgotten.

But this should be good for you as well. You are going to have the opportunity to hear three gifted preachers while I am away. I love that we can provide occasions in our pulpit to develop the preaching gift. It will also cause you to re-calibrate and lean more upon your elders than just the pastoral staff. It will force you to minister to one another. And it will corporately prevent us from creating a cult of personality based upon pastoral leadership. The senior pastor does not run the Church. Christ is the head of our church. Let us both use this time to rely upon him more.

So, I would make three requests of you. 1) Reach out to your shepherding elder when you have a need. It is his delight to serve you. Too often, we tend to rely upon the pastoral staff. Instead, allow these God-ordained men to minister to you. 2) Pray for myself and all our elders for refreshment. The enemy is always seeking to attack us. We need your prayer support. 3) I am going to ask that you allow me to rest. I will not be making appointments during this time. Too often, I find myself counseling even when I have casual meals with friends. I hope you can tell I am not avoiding you. I just need to rest for a bit. I will be able to serve you much better upon my return.

I love you. I am grateful to you and our elders for recognizing this need for myself and my family.