Taking Up Blogging #26

Sabbatical, 2018

Sabbatical Arrives

By the time you read this I will have embarked on my sabbatical.  I use the word “embarked” on purpose because I do view this as a journey.  Vacations are where you kick back and do nothing.  Sabbaticals are where you rest, for sure, but you also have goals, both external and internal goals.

What are you going to do…..

I’ve been asked this question a few times and the answer is both solid and slippery.  I am going to do some work on our house (or supervise some work that I can’t do).  I am going to try and rehab my back yard a bit.  I’m going to travel a fair amount (some ministry, some learning and some fun).  I’m also going to study the Reformation and learn more about leaders like Martin Luther and John Calvin.  That includes some reading and other studying but it also includes a trip to Germany and Switzerland to see the sites of their lives.

But there are some parts of this time to come that are a little less fixed.  I’m going to try to live at a different pace, a slower pace.  I’m going to see who I am when I’m not the “pastor.”  I’m going to read and think and play with my dogs.  I might even learn a new skill or two.  I know I want to connect with God on a different level than I have in the past so I’m trying to allow the space for Him to lead and work.

Who’s going to do your job?

Again the answer is both clear and also complicated.  The short answer is that Pastor Quinn will preach a lot more than he usually does, about half the Sundays I’m gone and we have asked Pastor Terry Maassen, a recently retired RCA pastor from Lincoln (now living in Omaha) to fill the pulpit when Quinn doesn’t.  So, with a guest speaker here and there, those two will tag-team the preaching.  In terms of leadership, our staff is really self-sufficient and talented but Pastor Quinn will lead the staff in my absence.  Our Executive Committee will stay very involved in leadership as will the rest of our consistory.

The longer answer is some of my job simply won’t get done.  There will be no one in my office (as far as I know anyway) and no one filling the exact role that I play.  And that’s a good thing.  Part of the point of a sabbatical is for the church to have some time away from their pastor and the pastor from the church.  It is good for both of us.  The summer is a different time for me anyway so I think Westwood will be fine.  The reality is that Westwood Church is really empowered and lead by God anyway and He’s not going anywhere.

When will you be back at work?

I’m scheduled to return full time to my office on July 17th but I won’t return to the pulpit until August 5th.  I’ll return with a short series, appropriately enough, on “Sabbath.”  I’m sure, by then, I’ll be chomping at the bit to preach and teach again.  While I’m gone I will not, by-in-large be taking church related phone calls or answering church email but if you need something please don’t hesitate to contact the church office.

I just finished writing my Easter message – my last message for 4 months.  It’s a strange feeling but a good feeling, a needed feeling.  I think I’m ready.  See you in July.


Pastor Scott