Our family began down a path in September of 2010 that has been an incredible journey! Planting Hope Church of Madison has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life but it has also been extremely taxing. We have attended countless hours of training, attended conferences, read books, sought The Lord for wisdom and had attended hundreds of meetings. Our family has been running this race – wide open, for almost 3 years now and we have found ourselves depleted in almost every area of our lives.
This depletion has occurred for several reasons:
1. I love ministry and God has given me the desire to be an impact player in His Kingdom work. I have had a hard time saying “No”.
2. Lack of experience- Hope Church is my first Pastorate and I have neglected to heed the advice of my peers to protect my family and personal time and there have been very little division of “Ministry” and “Family/Home” life.
3. My communication lines are always open and on and I have neglected to unplug. Even on vacation, I have answered the phone, returned email and given counsel to members in our congregation.
4. Operating a church, planning our church calendar, and doing the busy-work of events has taken priority over my “unhurried time” w/ the Lord. I am exhausted, frazzled, frustrated, and overwhelmed.
5. I have done a pour job of investing in leaders and delegating responsibilities and task. This has caused me to be pulled away from my primary responsibility as your pastor- “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelist, & some pastors & teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the saints.” Eph. 4:11-12
About 3 weeks ago, I began to see exhaustion and frustration in my children from the load of our ministry and this caused me to begin to evaluate where I was too. Last week I “hit the wall” and realized that I needed to unplug and refresh for the road ahead. Never in my life have i experience such agony and fatigue. Each evening when I would return home, I would lay on my bed and stare at the ceiling and weep from the load that I refused to relinquish. I wept before God and knew I had to share my load w/ our leadership team.
Last Thursday I had a “Divine Appointment” w/ one of our men who serves on our leadership team at Hope Church. Before I knew it, I unloaded EVERYTHING on him…. He took it in stride and was determined to help our family. He called a meeting w/ the entire team and they developed a plan.
Sunday morning, after our service, our leadership team requested that our family take a “Sabbatical” for the month of July. –Wanting to really utilize this time, I searched our convention’s definition of a “Sabbatical” and here is what it is and I quote—
“A sabbatical is a specific period of time-off granted to the minister for in-depth focus on professional and spiritual renewal and calling. It is a gift the congregation can give to her pastor/staff in recognition of faithful ministry over an extended period of time. It is not a vacation or personal leave. Rather it is a time for creative and intentional meditation, reflection, study and “going deeper with God.” An important result of sabbatical (Spiritual renewal) leave is that the pastor/staff returns to the church field with renewed focus and energy to fulfill God’s calling.”
So, as of today my family and I will be spending this month seeking our Lord for Spiritual Renewal. Our leadership team has requested that I totally unplug during this season of my life. They have ask that my phone, email and communication be turned off. This is a HUGE Challenge!
I have already began the process of unplugging and retooling. I have several books that I will be reading this month that focus on Spiritual Renewal and growth. One of them is entitled “The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth” by John Maxwell. The first 2 chapters has revealed a flaw in my life and I will strive to fix that flaw! I have set some goals for this time and look forward to hearing from Heaven and coming back energized and full of vision!
I look forward to seeing how God grows us during this time and I plan to log my progress in this blog in order for everyone to read how God is renewing my spirit. I intend on being transparent and truthful so this can be a source of help for me in the future and for anyone who might experience a similar situation.