A little over a week from now, Catherine and I will be embarking on a four-month faith journey with our three girls, while I take a sabbatical from worship ministry. I thought I would tell you a bit more about why I’m taking a sabbatical, what exactly I’ll be doing, and also ask if you would be praying for me!
Why a sabbatical?
Two reasons. First, I have been leading worship nearly every weekend of my life since the age of 13. To use a football analogy, I was “handed the ball” as an eighth-grade boy, and I’ve been running down the field ever since. These last 20+ years have been incredibly rewarding, as God has matured me, allowed me the privilege of serving at wonderful and dynamic churches, and given me the most precious gift of Catherine and our three girls.
But these last two decades have also been incredibly exhausting, and God has been speaking clearly over the last year or so, that for the sake of my own health, my ability to serve in ministry for the long haul, and my role as a husband and father, I need to take a time out. I need to put the ball down, step out of bounds, rest, and get ready to get back on the field for another stretch. Otherwise, I’m headed for inevitable ministry burnout. Catherine has affirmed this need for a sabbatical, and so has the leadership of Truro Anglican Church, where I serve. They have encouraged me to take it soon: from February – May.
Second, in the summer of 2010, I became a seminary student at the Washington D.C. campus of Reformed Theological Seminary. Through RTS, I am pursuing a Master of Arts in Religion, after which I feel called to discern whether or not God would lead me to become ordained in the Anglican Church.
I am now halfway through my seminary studies, but with the demands of full-time worship ministry, and family responsibilities, I simply don’t have the margins to take more than perhaps one course per year. It is time for me to focus more intentionally on making significantly measurable progress towards completing my seminary studies.
So this sabbatical is dual-purposed: First, to give me a rest from the weekly demands of up-front ministry, and the space to heal from some of the wounds and exhaustion. Second, to provide me the space to take a full semester of seminary classes.
What will we be doing?
Next week, my family and I will be temporarily moving to Central Florida, so that I can take a full semester of classes at RTS Orlando during their spring semester. We are looking forward to spending a season as a family outside of the pressurized environment of Northern Virginia, and being close to the water. I have been counseled by friends and mentors to devote evenings to Catherine, and weekends to my daughters (and the beach). On Sundays, we will worship at Celebration Community Church, and I hope to sit in on some of their elder meetings, so that I can learn from a church outside of the Anglican context. I will also be intentionally spending time with several mentors in the Orlando area, and enjoying time with some family who live close by. This will be a season for rest, study, family strengthening, and for experiencing an extended season of not standing on a platform every Sunday.
How you can pray for us
Catherine and I would be incredibly grateful for your prayers in these areas:
For me : That I am able to get meaningful rest from up-front ministry, rewarding times of theological study, space to process, grieve, and heal from the last 20+ years, and a renewed energy for the future.
For Catherine: That God grants her all the peace, energy, and wisdom she needs as she helps move our family for four months, homeschools our three girls, and helps them adjust to their new surroundings.
For our marriage: That God protects, strengthens, and renews our love for one another.
For Megan, Emma, and Callie: That they adjust well to their new/temporary home for these four months, and that God helps them handle this significant upheaval.
About this blog
I started this blog in July 2009 with a simple purpose: “to help worship leaders lead well”. I have every intention of continuing to write here for that purpose, and offer whatever help, encouragement, and resources I can to worship leaders. Catherine has encouraged me not to give up writing on here during my sabbatical, so in the weeks and months to come I hope to share some of what God is teaching me and showing me, and occasional updates about a worship leader gathering I’ll be hosting in Atlanta in July.
Finally, I do apologize to my readers for how quiet things have been here lately! Now you know a bit more of the reasons why. Thanks for your understanding, and most importantly for your prayers.
7 thoughts on “My Upcoming Sabbatical”
God speed – and no faster! 🙂 – in the months ahead.
I’ve enjoyed your blog.
Chris Chris Woods | Emeritus professor of music | (618) 664-6568
TOGETHER Empowered For Life
Thank you, Chris. I appreciate that.
God grant each request,especially in renewal and rejuvenation ( to make you young again)
Lift burdens from weary shoulders, deepen family bonds of love and enjoyment
Show you even better how to let go and let God, and confirm your vocation
Holy Spirit, You who are “ the Lord and giver of life” , fill your servant. Expel the old, stale air, and replace it entirely with the new fresh air
Thank you, dear brother.
Thanks for continuing to lead well, showing all worship leaders the need for rest as well as work. We are defined only by our status as God’s children. Blessings on you and your ur family during this time.
Thank you, Ariel.
I’ll pray for you and your family and wish you many benefits from this time of renewal