What the Heck is a Sabbatical?

Posted: August 5, 2013 in Uncategorized

After ten years of ministry at my church, Foundation Church, they gifted my family with a one month sabbatical.  I am forever grateful for this opportunity to step back from the day to day ministry and be revived.  It’s great to have a church and leadership that recognizes the importance of rest.

In the greek, sabbatical means, “Get ready for God to kick your but and your butt!”  Just kidding…….

Actually it means to rest and is derived from the word Sabbath.  For me, it’s an extended period of time taken from the daily routine to rest, pray, study, plan, cast vision and seek God.

If you know anything about me, it’s hard for me to set still. I am always looking forward to the next goal or the next thing and rarely do I just “Mary”. It’s a character flaw that I believe this sabbatical hopes to break me of.

I know there are things that have to be accomplished, but how can I maintain healthy ministries if I am not myself spiritually healthy.

Honestly, that’s where I found myself this past Friday. I had given all I had. Exhausted. To say that I was ready for a break is an understatement. The thing though is I had a great summer! I saw God save so many people and I saw God used children, teenagers and adults. I had a blast, but through all of the doing, I couldn’t do anymore.

I had been anticipating this time for a few months and now it’s here. As I have settled into my room at Tulakogee, the question that I kept asking this morning is, “God, what do you want?” As I read and prayed and pondered, I sensed God saying a few things:

1. ABIDE-don’t jump planning 2014 or the next great thing for the family ministry or the mobile home communities. Don’t read all of the great ministry books that you have in your box. I want you to ABIDE. I sensed God saying, “We will get to the other stuff, but you need to learn to really ABIDE, not just get by. So I believe one of the courses God has me on this next six weeks is to ABIDE, so my textbooks are the Bible and Abide in Christ by Andrew Murray and Desiring God by John Piper.  Deep down, again honestly, these definitely were not the books I wanted to start out with.  I wanted to start out with the “idea” books.  God has a great sense of humor.



2. Have FUN and REST. Don’t feel guilty about doing these two things. Spoil your family….make memories with your family.

3. We will focus on your fears and your next steps later. This is where I believe the “but” kicking will start. I have to admit, I have been in a comfortable spot for a while which is not a bad thing, but do you ever sense that your comfort is really disobedience? I have and I do. The questions I have for God are, “Are these my dreams or are they your dreams?” “How do you want me to lead out in this next phase of my life?”

On top of all of this, we are hoping to visit Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas to check out their family ministry as well as go back to Mission Arlington to serve together as a family and get some questions answered about starting churches in mobile home communities.  In the middle of our sabbatical, we are taking a family vacation to our favorite spot in the world–Panama City Beach!  Exciting stuff

I am about to turn 40 in December and I can’t help but wonder what the next ten or twenty years will bring. I don’t want to just get by and coast on into heaven without being on the front lines, but I want to be a world changer. But first, it starts with me, opening up to the one who created me, allowing him to do heart surgery…….

Will let you know how it goes……I am going to enjoy the journey!

  1. Amy Lagers says:

    Ouch! My comfort=disobedience? Quite possibly. Wow! I can see how that could easily happen. We often forget about sins of omission. Thanks for the food for thought.

  2. Larry O'Neal says:


    We are very proud of you and your wonderful family and blessed to have you serve and lead at FC for the past ten years! It appears that you are off to a great start on the sabbatical. As someone who’s already passed 40 and nearing 60 more than just turning 50, my suggestion is take time with the family as it appears you are. This is time that you will reflect on favorably as you and Sarah grow older. You are on track dear friend. The days will fly by and just know that sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is rest!

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