Announcing my sabbatical

Trinity Pres Church copy

For many of you, you may not even know what a sabbatical is. Traditionally, it derived from the world of university professors who were granted a period of paid leave for study or travel. And the Church has often followed suit on this practice. Coming out of our 25th Anniversary celebrations last year, our elders granted Timo Strawbridge and me each a sabbatical.

Timo has taken his starting back in the late Spring. And for me, beginning this next weekend I will start my sabbatical and be away from preaching for 9 Sunday’s.

First, no one is in trouble. Quite the opposite, I am very excited for the opportunity professionally, and this is a profound blessing to me (and Julie) personally! In all my years of ministry, and 27 years of working for Trinity, this will be the longest break I’ve ever had. And the purpose of this break is for me to write, study and prepare for my final stretch of ministry.

This is not a vacation, nor a job search. I will be working a lot! And in the time spent ordinarily on sermon prep, I can get a lot done on other very strategic projects, like working to renew our momentum in church planting (i.e. recruiting, training and deploying our next church planter), invest strategically in the rising generation of leaders at Trinity, and help prepare a healthy transition of leadership as almost half our officers approach retirement.

I am not looking at other churches or jobs (I’ve regularly turned those offers down because I love working here with you.)  So please pray for my work, that it would be strategic and fruitful. Please pray for refreshment as the gears shift from routines here to a longer view of Trinity's vision and plans for our next chapter. And please pray for our Lord to give me eyes to see and ears to hear His leading for our church and church planting network.

And here, we are blessed to have a small army of very gifted men who will be preaching while I’m away — from our own staff and from our church planting network. Please be kind to these men. Lean in. Encourage them as they work to encourage you and build you up in your faith.

And please know that I remain inexpressibly grateful for the privilege of being your pastor.