so my sabbatical journey begins officially today! why?
because at our church council meeting last night, my 11 page plan [that i’ve been working on for almost a year now] was approved and financially supported. so now i’m will be starting a journey to breath, research, rest, gain some perspective and enjoy my family in a different way for 16 weeks this spring and summer.
i’m amazed, pumped and humbled all at the same time. why?
because after 11 years at my church, they have given me a huge gift in sending me away and not making me have to beg for all the money. they are investing in me and the ministry that God has called me to in their midst! that speaks volumes. it even made me start tearing up when the shock of it all set in. dawn started crying again to when i explained the details to her. it even means more when you look at the last few years we’ve had at our church: conflict, spiritual warfare, miscommunication and in general a very difficult and exhausting place to do ministry. but God is good and harderwyk has been a wonderful place. it’s my home and my family and now i get to study and grow so that i can [with God’s help and leading] dream new dreams and refresh for the next 11 years serving my church.
so this will be my spot to start sharing what will be going on with my sabbatical: my plans, thinking, reading, conversations, experiences, funny stories and communications back to harderwyk from these first days of preparation all the way to my time re-engaging the congregation when i return.
so here are a few details…
- they journey begins on april 1st. that is 5 and 1/2 month away. yikes!
- i am planning three major conventions and at least a dozen in-depth conversations with cutting edge youth ministry leaders, thinkers and researchers.
- i have a stack of over 20 books to read.
- i told ella that we get to go camping, spend time california, do beach week at holland state park, spend time in a cabin, go back to mackinaw island and go to two different friends cottages. she thought that sounded like the best summer every and i got a very big hug. meg won’t really realize what is going on yet.
- i get to be a volunteer! i’m planing time to go to roseland, my old camp and lagrave crc’s service site and just be a little helper. not lead, not plan, not be responsible for anything more than my self and what i can do.
- in my travels i get to have some fun doing some stuff i like to do. time in gettysburg seeing all the historical sites, a few train museums and displays around the country, hiking, fishing, camping, kayaking, eating and catching up with friends.
so that you don’t think it’s gonna be just one big party, there are three action plans i will be developing and returning to my church with to implement. wanna see my goals?
- ministry to emerging adulthood • mid  to late adolescents . engage with and empower this age group to be active in church by use of their gifts and empowering them to serve, develop ministries and lead where gifted.
- 5 to 1 plan of mentoring and intentional investment to students. engage the church to become a group that nurture, invests and raise up students for a lifetime of faithfulness and service in the kingdom.
- developing sticky faith families. work with and train parents to understand the new cultural and developmental shifts that affect their children and how they are brought up to be fully devoted followers of Christ. bring back the research and methodology to work with children’s ministries to enhance and strengthen our plan of interaction, training and encouragement of parents.
so all in all, this is a blessing beyond what i was hoping for and a shot in the arm after a long year both at home and at work! let see what God will allow me to do with this amazing gift! keep watching for more to come.