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My congregation, University Baptist Church, has given me a gift. They have allowed me to take six weeks away from the church to focus on a writing project. When I originally asked the personnel committee about taking a sabbatical, they expressed their concern about me leaving the church during this tenuous time. We are just coming out of a pandemic. There are signs on the horizon of hope. People are coming back. We have planned new events. So, they, perhaps with good reason, had reservations about me being gone for several months. Instead, since I had planned to do some writing, they offered a six week writing leave. I accepted the generous offer and have begun my time away today.

As I begin this break from the daily responsibility of ministry, I am filled with a sense of gratitude for my church family. We (myself included) are a group of flawed individuals. This group cares about me and wants to express it. I recognize the difficulty of having someone away just as things are getting started, so I appreciate this demonstration of support.

As I drove out of town this afternoon, I thought about the next few weeks and my plans. I thought about what God can do during a sojourn. Deliberate time away can be rejuvenating. I will not squander this gift. Instead, I will be intentional with how I spend my time. Right now, I will go to sleep dreaming of what’s next. God is with me in this moment and will be guiding both me and my church over the coming weeks.

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