Sent or Gone?

I want the congregation to know that I am NOT going on a sabbatical this summer.  I am also – especially! – NOT leaving on a sabbatical.  However, I am BEING SENT on a sabbatical this summer, and that’s why I want YOU to know about it, because you’re the ones sending me.

That language is really important to me, and to Pastor Bill, who will be sent in 2016 on a sabbatical as well.  Why?  Because a sabbatical is about renewal for an individual, but only as that renewal relates to the place they are called to serve.  And so my hope is that you will see yourselves as a part of my being sent out, because I’m being sent out for the sake of you and the ministry of the congregation.

Okay, now that we have our words straight, you may be wondering, what kinds of amazing things will Pastor Jonathan be exploring on his sabbatical?  You can read my whole proposal on our webpage at this link  I can summarize it a bit by saying that my learning focus will be on how we do faith formation at SLC in the 21st century.  I am calling this sabbatical “Form,” because I am really interested in how we form our faith across the generations of our congregation, AND I have a hunch that there are some new/old ways we can do this that may really enhance the rich landscape we already have.  Some of the pieces are already in place, but I know there is a lot to do to connect all the pieces together.  So I get a chance to be sent by all y’all out of the trees to take a look at the forest, and hopefully come back more equipped in my leadership.  Another part of this sabbatical is to be renewed, to sabbath, and that means time for renewal of self and renewal with family.  I am looking forward to an active sabbath vacationing with family, and doing some serious biking, trail running, and especially a long backpack in the Olympics.  This part of the sabbatical is equally important, because a refreshed leader is an energized and creative leader.  After 12 years of ministry, I am feeling the need for this renewal!

I could really use your prayers as I prepare for this summer and while I am “sent”, and your engagement so that it truly is a sending – something we embark on together.  I could also use your prayers for our congregation, that we may be open to exciting new possibilities in our ministry together, and that we may be both wise and creative in how we proceed.  Sabbaticals bring renewal, creativity, and often change, and I am very blessed to be sent by YOU for the sake of the gift God has given – US..


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