As we draw nearer to my Sabbatical Period (August 16-November 14) the Sabbatical Planning Committee (Alex Adams, Glenn Johnson, Leonard Johnson) has been working hard with Dr. Lee Childs and Rev. Christian Justice to prepare goals for the congregation. I am happy to share with you what I believe to be a great plan that will be valuable to our future together. These goals for NCBC during the Sabbatical period match the goals that I have for my own personal Sabbatical plan: 1) Spiritual Revitalization, 2) Health/ Wellness, 3) Strengthened Family Bonds.
I. Church Revitalization/Visioning
Our deacons have read and studied a book in 2021 by Henry and Richard Blackaby titled, “Flickering Lamps: Christ & His Church.” We believe this book to be a powerful challenge to any Christian who reads it and endeavors to implement its wisdom into their service for Christ. Pastor Christian and Dr. Childs will be using this book for a sermon series during September and October. There will also be small groups formed beginning in September to read and discuss this book. If you are willing to lead or host a small group, please let Pastor Christian know. As a part of this book study, there will also be sessions that provide opportunities for our congregation to dream and vision where God is leading us for the next decade of ministry. The church will be purchasing and providing copies of this book, but you are welcome to purchase your own copy of Flickering Lamps and begin reading whenever you would like.
II. Church Health Evaluation
Just as I will be having some health check-ups during this time, it is a good thing for a church to have some periodic evaluations to assess the health and ministry of the congregation. While we always endeavor to remain faithful to the mission of Christ, sometimes it is easy to drift into priorities that sometimes distract us from the mission. Because that drift is slight and gradual, it can often go unnoticed by those inside the congregation. Having a fresh set of eyes to evaluate and provide constructive feedback can be a great “check-up” for our church. This evaluation will likely involve our church facilities, worship experience/first time impressions, and website.
III. Church Family
The final goal for this Sabbatical period is to keep our congregation united and engaged. It would break my heart if these three months of personal self-care translated into a weakening period for the church I serve. Should that be the case, it would discourage both me, and the congregation, from any such opportunity in the future. God would not be glorified in that. I want this to be a time of blessing, not burden, for my church family. Therefore, we have as our final goal to maintain a unity in the Spirit with a high level of engagement from our congregation. We want to see an excitement for the next decade of ministry and enthusiasm for what we expect God can and will do among us. And we want to re-engage many who have not returned in person since the Covid-pandemic. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our church actually grows during this time? The stronger our unity and engagement when I return from Sabbatical, the better prepared we will be to face the next decade of ministry together.
As we draw closer to August 16, I ask you to join me in prayer for a few important things:
*Pray that God will use this time to do amazing things not only in my life, but in our church family as well.
*Pray that God will protect our church family from spiritual attacks meant to deceive, divide, and discourage God’s people.
*Pray for Dr. Lee Childs, Rev. Christian Justice, the Sabbatical Planning Team, Church Staff, and Deacons that they would all give their best and lead our church faithfully during my absence.
*Pray that God will revive us and give us clear vision/passion for the next decade at NCBC, so that Christ is glorified.
*Pray that our congregation stays healthy, safe, and well and that no one passes away during my absence.
*Pray that we will have receptive hearts and minds to hear honest evaluation and constructive feedback. Ask God for courage and conviction to follow his leading and make necessary changes as a result.