Yesterday I blogged about my upcoming sabbatical and how thankful I am to get the opportunity to have this spiritual refreshment break. Today I want to line out some plans that I have for sabbatical and how I plan on getting the most out of my sabbatical. Now what I am going to line out has come out of many conversations from pastoral leaders who are much smarter than I am and have taken sabbaticals. I am so thankful for the older pastoral leaders, and mentors, in my life who have helped to shape this time.
Month One: Disconnect
The counsel I have taken from these mentors in my life is to take the first month to really just disconnect from the pastoral ministry. I leave on April 26th and we are heading straight up to Redding, CA where I will graduate from Tozer Theological Seminary on April 28th with my Masters of Divinity. It will be great to finish my masters work at the beginning of sabbatical to have free time to just disconnect from ministry and spend time with God. Practically this means that I will not be checking email or taking phone calls (related to church). I am seriously considering deactivating my Facebook during this time also.
Month Two: Have Fun
From what I have compiled from the mentors in my life I will taking the second month to just have fun with my family. Pastoral ministry is very demanding and this often means few days off and having to miss important family events. For the month of June I plan to be in California spending some time at the beach, taking my kids to Disneyland one day and then seeing our family. It will be great to have time to just sit with our family members and hang out!
Month Three: Re-engage
This is the part that I heard can be the most difficult. While I am away the leaders at my church will all be working as hard as they normally do and even a little harder to help out in my absence. This last month will be a time where I slowly re-enage back into ministry. I will start meeting with my Executive Pastor to get caught up on what has taken place while I was away. I want to make sure that I re-engage well. One of the pastors I spoke with strongly encouraged me to not just come back and plan on working a full-week but to come back a week early and work two half-weeks so that I can maintain a healthy pace.
Right now this is the overall plan. I am sure that there will be minor tweaks to the plan but I would prefer to enter the time with a plan and make some adjustments than just expect that everything will work out fine. I am very excited to get some extra time to connect with God and I plan on taking some spiritual retreats to Utah while I am away, chasing my kids around and expecting God to prepare me for my next run in ministry.