Taking Up Blogging #24

November, 2017


Taking Some Space…

The word “space” has become kind of a code word for me.  Some of you know that I have the honor of giving some time every year to a ministry called Harbor Ministries, specifically to an event called Rhythm in Twenty.  It is a gathering of 20, 20 something guys to talk about how to follow Christ for a lifetime, in a      sustainable way.  Many, but not all, of these guys are in ministry professionally.  Most are married, many have some kiddos.  Our goal is to help these guys establish some life habits that enable them to be great Christ-followers, great husbands and fathers and great leaders.  One of those habits is called “space.”  We encourage these guys to get alone for a day or so each month and just have some solitude – some alone time with God.  We have found that just that habit makes a huge difference in the lives of the guys we work with.

I believe in taking space but I’m not really good at it; and I have gotten worse over this past year of building busyness.  That’s why I’m so grateful that the Executive Committee of Westwood Church has offered me a sabbatical in 2018.  A sabbatical is an extended time of “space” offered “typically” to academic and  ministry professionals.  Some people use it for further study, some for travel, some just to rest.   The           Reformed Church in America suggests that ordained pastors take a sabbatical of at least 2 months every 5-7 years.  My last sabbatical was in 2008 and I used it to write my doctoral project, so not a lot of rest.  And I ended up having to cut it a bit short because of some things happening in the life of the church.  Since then almost 10 years have passed, we’ve had several building projects, we added a fair amount of staff, and we’ve grown.  It has been good, but busy.  And my sense is that I need some “space.”

So on the Monday after Easter, April 2nd, I will begin a 3 ½ month sabbatical.  I’ll return to work the third week of July but won’t return to the pulpit until the first Sunday of August.  During my sabbatical Pastor Quinn will take over many of my duties, including leading the staff.  He will also preach about twice a month and the other preaching will be done by Pastor Terry Maassen, a retired RCA pastor now living in Omaha with his wife Cheryl.  Terry is a wonderful pastor and will help Quinn navigate the leadership waters.  I have all the confidence in the world in both of them.  And remember we have the best ministry and support staff on the planet.  Westwood will click along just fine without me.

My sabbatical plans are a bit hazy at this point.  I’m trying hard not to load up my schedule, trying to allow room for God to lead and work, trying to be sure that I get some needed rest.  I hope to do some things I haven’t had time to do.  It will come together as we get closer.  But I do know this, I want to get some “space.”  And I want to come back to Westwood rested and ready for what God has next for us.



Pastor Scott