impending sabbath [sabbatical]!
i’m pretty excited today. why?
because three weeks from today i will officially be on sabbatical [sabbath rest] from my position at harderwyk ministries as youth pastor. my prayer on this coming time away, that like my garden plot from last summer: life will grow and renew what God intends to flourish.
i’m starting to read through a preparation book and the word that keeps coming up and makes me keep thinking to myself, well duh, is sabbath. that is where the word sabbatical comes from originally.
sabbath, rest, change of pace, renewal.
all of these terms resonate right now, but not because i feel like i need a vacation. [those are always nice, but not what i’m looking for out of this time i’ve been granted] i’m looking for renewal, a new rhythm for a time, a chance to get away from the constant noise, the normal routine and the pace of moving always from one event, one meeting, one lesson and one sermon to the next.
i LOVE what i do, but i’ve felt that if i want to continue to be able to do this, a rest and sabbath will have to come. and now it has!
i’m very excited about heading into a different pace and experience than i’m used to and i’m very excited about coming back to a place that has very much become my home and my family. it’s hard to believe that i have 16 weeks to travel, dream, read, plan, interview people, hike, learn, write, kayak, garden and rest.
excited to return and be refreshed and ready for another 12 years serving and being engaged in what God has in store for harderwyk and this little corner of holland, michigan.
i started down the road of ministry when i was asked to be a volunteer youth leader long beach christian reformed church,when i was just barely 21. that means i’ve been doing ministry for almost 27 years, more than half of my life. [i would say adult life, but if you know me, adult is a word that doesn’t always quite fit for me!] i would have never dreamed that 27 years later i would be a seminary graduate, living in holland, michigan, still be in full time ministry, let alone 20 years as a paid youth pastor and nearly 12 years serving the same church. if that isn’t something that could only happen through the power and grace of God, then I don’t know what is!
so the dream is to gain some perspective and some practical insight on how to do ministry in these three areas and then bring those ideas and dreams back to those i work and live with here at harderwyk and see where God will give us traction and action.
- 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 adopts, nurtures, invests and raises up students [and everyone] 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.
please pray, that God will allow me hear him differently and passionate when the normal noise goes away and i can hear from new voices and new experiences that will feed the dream for what is next to come. and i mean that. i would be honored if you would pray, that this time will be blessed by God and i will make use of this gift of renewal to sustain myself for the ministry yet to come!
so if you want to follow along while i share where and what i’m doing during this time, please feel free. i don’t know how interactive i’ll be, but i’ll be honest and i’ll be regular about putting my thoughts and questions on here so that i’m keeping record of how i see God leading me during this time and what’s going to come from it all.
no guarantees, but if you want to find me from april 1st to july 21st, the two best places will be in the community garden out by the harderwyk woods or kayking around the pigeon river up near port sheldon. i’ll be the guy smoking my new pipe [a sabbatical gift from an elder friend of mine.] must be that i’m getting old if i start smoking a pipe!