Monday, August 31, 2015

Taking a Sabbatical

I’m blessed to be serving in a church that has decided that pastoral staff should get a sabbatical.  Here is the sabbatical section of our personnel policy:

“The biblical principle of the Sabbath was given for man’s protection against burn out.  Not only does that apply to our work week and taking a day off, but there’s a longer range benefit as well.  The purpose of a sabbatical – an extended time away from work – is spiritual, relational, emotional and physical rest and recuperation.

After a staff pastor has completed five years of full time ministry at Nags Head Church he is eligible for a one month sabbatical.  Or he may choose to wait until the completion of seven years of ministry and take a sabbatical of up to three months.  During the time of sabbatical salary and benefits will continue to be paid by the church.  Sabbatical does not negate accrued vacation time, but is in addition to vacation.  Sabbaticals must be requested at least six months in advance and be approved by the elder body.”

I look forward to this time to refresh, renew and refuel!  I’m thankful that our church sees the benefit of a sabbatical.  This is my fourteenth year at NHC and this will be my second sabbatical.  My first sabbatical was when we brought the twins home.  I spent a month at home changing diapers, holding and feeding babies, living life with a huge lack of sleep.  Not really refreshed after that sabbatical but the time off was really appreciated and it hit at exactly the right time. 

If more churches put this into practice would they keep pastoral staff around longer than two or three years?  Would pastors get the 7 year itch to move on to a new ministry location?

My plans are to:

Spend more time reading the Word and articles and books.

Spend more time with my family investing in them.

Spend more time resting and relaxing and even taking long walks on the beach.
Spend more time working around the house and getting some projects done.

Take a few small road trips.

I plan on blogging more during this time and of course posting the meals I cook on instagram.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Cell Phone Post

The dreaded cell phone.  For years in youth ministry we have combatted the cell phone.  In the early years it wasn't a battle because phones were so expensive to have and to use.  In addition they were huge, a handheld looked like a military phone used to call in air strikes, the bag phone just wasn't cool to carry around.   

Because I’m an old man I probably struggled more than others.  When I was a teen we used land line phones if we were going to call each other.  We waited until we saw each other to talk and have conversations.  If we wanted to listen to music together we had to get into the 69 Bug (this was in 85, I’m not that old) and listen to Phil Collins on the boombox located in my backseat because I was too poor to install a stereo system.  To take a picture I had to get the roll of film for my Kodak camera, as a result I don’t have many pictures of me and my friends from the days of old.

I have seen the problems cell phones cause on youth trips or at youth group gatherings.  Students get locked into their own world with a friend who didn’t come on the trip, or boyfriend/girlfriend.  The student who puts in the ear buds to block out everyone else.  For sure there are problems with the cell phone on the trip or at youth worship gatherings.  Here it comes . . . .

BUT . . .

There are some benefits to the cell phone:

On the trip to the amusement park you can find students quickly and easily.  You can remind them in a group text to meet at the main gate at 8:55pm, etc.

Pictures are one of the best ways to promote events.  Students can instantly post pics to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook.

You can’t be everywhere at the event at one time so students can share their pics with you to use to promote the event next year and on your web site/Facebook page.

Students are using their cell phone with Youversion app for their Bible reading.  A lot easier to carry to youth group and they actually have a Bible with them at all times.

Great pics from youth group worship can be posted immediately.

The “hover parent” can text their kid instead of texting you at 11:30pm to see how “Johnny” is doing on the trip.

BUT . . .

It’s good to lay down some ground rules.

Our rules at our Student Church on Sunday nights: 
If we see you texting a bunch we ask you to put it away.  If you are constantly on your phone we have a nice little box to put your phone in.

You are welcome to use your phone to take pics, post to social media.
Please use your phone and use your Bible app if you didn’t bring your Bible.

No earbuds or headphones.

New Site is up and Running

My new web site which now hosts my blog posts is up and fully functional. You can check it out at . There is also a ...