I’ve been here nearly a year. I’ve taken some time off, but it’s been mostly for little things like the birth of my son. I attempt (and usually succeed) in taking a day off a week away from ministry needs. At the same time, I recognize: I need to get away from my congregation for a little bit. I’m not talking burnout and need to resign the ministry; I just need some time away to recharge my batteries. I know it’s not burnout because even as I read some tonight, I got fired up for some things I want to do when I get back. I’m already looking forward for vacation to get done so I can be back!
However, I recognize that I need time away. I’ve been a little less patient than I typically am, and certainly a touch more snippy. Thankfully God has graced me with good snarky people in the congregation that can recognize a joke and hand it right back to me, so I’m not worried about over-snarkiness (at the moment). I’m also just getting tired out sooner in the week than I did before. I’m looking forward to getting away even as I’m looking forward to getting back.
At the same time… yesterday was refreshing.
We started Sunday morning with a council meeting. They’ve been having council meetings here before worship on Sundays for a little bit now. We’re edging to get it off of Sunday mornings, but for now it’ll be here. And council meetings are usually not a highlight of my week. These are good men, but they come to the table with vastly different stories and different ideas of what this congregation should be. Their ideas (generally) are all God-pleasing, but contrasting. (Should Pastor spend time in this God-pleasing task or that God-pleasing task? Discuss.) Council meetings and the build-up to them usually cause me a great deal of stress.
I prayed all week long. I prepared all week long. I readied a devotion that centered on Gospel. I prepared my report, which included some contentious issues. And… the council answered them. Yes, there was disagreement, but it was disagreement between brothers and not enemies. We walked away from that meeting ready to face the day, not ground down into the dirt. I have no doubt God was chuckling all through the meeting as he answered my prayers for patience and wisdom for the men of the council. (And prayers for my patience and wisdom, too!)
Worship was phenomenal. We used an order of service that’s not my preference when it comes to music, but it just sang to my heart. And the sermon (posted Wednesday!) was all about the Gospel. It spoke directly to the congregation – not in a theoretical way, but to their needs. And it proclaimed that though Jesus was everything, he became nothing, so nothings like us have everything.
Times of refreshing indeed!
And then Bible study was about partying! We’re doing a block party in a few months. Should we even do that? Is that something a church should do? So we took a look at partying. We studied King David’s reaction to bringing the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem (II Samuel 6:12-23). We saw that God was pleased with David rocking out – dancing with all his strength, while the people shouted for joy! We saw that it is good and right for us to celebrate – as long as our motivation is celebration of God choosing us!
Yesterday was packed with so much goodness! We focused on the Gospel! God answered prayers! I saw growth evidenced in the men I work closest with! We talked about celebration and started brainstorming how to best do just that!
Even as I look forward to my vacation, yesterday was a time of refreshing. Jesus is good! I can’t wait to get away – and I can’t wait to return refreshed to revel in worship again!