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This blog shows Ferris Lane Community Church news updates - bulletin items, prayer requests, Connector articles, etc.


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Pastor’s Sabbatical
May 1, 2013

Pastor Carrie asked me to write a bit about my upcoming sabbatical as your pastor which will be oc-curring from July 7th to September 8th. When our District Superintendent, Ian Fitzpatrick, proposed the idea of a sabbatical at my pastoral review last summer, I was a little surprised. I had never thought I would be blessed by ever being able to have a sabbatical! Let me start with a bit of history about what a sabbatical is and then share with you my plan for the time spent away.

A sabbatical, which is also known as Sabbath rest or a sabbatical leave, is a resource for pastors and their families. It is an extended time away from the routines of normal ministry and daily life. The sabbatical is to be given as a separate time away from the local assignment and not to be considered as the pastor's vacation time.

It is a time of special renewal for the pastor that will bring personal nourishment to his/her soul, a deeper relationship with the Lord, and a clearer understanding of God's vision for the church. A sab-batical helps to prevent ministry burn-out and may give the pastor a fresh perspective for his/her ministry.

Each church can create its own individual policy regarding sabbaticals. The length of the sabbatical is based on the tenure of the pastor. The following is the policy for the General Church of the Naza-rene as outlined in the Manual 129.10: "In order to encourage the lifelong learning of the pastor in spiritual, emotional and educational dimensions, the church board may consider supporting a sabbati-cal/study leave for the pastor during the seventh consecutive year of service in one congregation."

Historically, sabbaticals are used in academia to allow the teacher time to write a book or push forward in his or her field in some way. Working alongside our church board, we have come up with three basic focuses of the time.

First, I will spend the time researching where I want to go next academically. For some time, I have thought about starting a Doctorate but I want to ensure that I am not taking a degree for the sake of calling myself a Doctor! So I am also considering some more education with Strengths-Based Leadership. I would love to be able to present leadership materials in a secular environment and to be able to bring the grace of Christ into a business situation.

Second, I will spend some time looking at where we have come from as a church and chart a course for the future of Ferris Lane Community Church. It is important to take a step back from time to time and get a bigger view of things and to seek what God would have next for our community.

Third, rest! Quite simply rest. I feel that proper rest can ensure long term ministry. It is shock-ing when I look around and see that around 30 percent of the peers who I went to seminary with have left the ministry and some left the church all together. The main cause as reported, is burnout, so a big part of this sabbatical will be rest. Part of that rest is a 10 day trip to Ireland. My grandfa-ther came over from Magheraveely, a small town in the middle of Ireland. In fact, if you google ―Coulters of Magheraveely,‖ you can see my great grandfather standing in front of the homestead there. I also plan to make lots of sawdust! Most of you know I love woodworking and the plan is to build a few projects around the house, and if time allows, a grandfather clock.

Let me assure you that you all are going to be in good hands! Board member Kevin Magill will be overseeing the sabbatical plan for when I am away. He has a comprehensive plan that will ensure that everything will be relatively smooth for my time away. If you have any questions about the sabbatical, feel free to ask Kevin or anyone else on the board.

I feel extremely blessed to be given this opportunity. This is a great time to be a part of Ferris Lane Community Church. It has been a great 10 years together and I feel that God has great plans for us in the future!

God Bless,

Pastor Mark

Filed under: News, The Ferris Lane Community Connector


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