A sabbatical, according to Faith Church’s Sabbatical Policy, is a “balanced break” for personal renewal and strengthening for future ministry. It’s not a vacation; it’s a purposeful retreat from ministry responsibilities to recharge the physical, emotional, and spiritual energy needed for pastoral ministry. Because the Elders strongly encourage pastors to take periodic breaks for renewal, full-time pastors at Faith accrue sabbatical time at the rate of about one month for every two-and-a-half years. After Pastor Joey’s ten years at Faith, he is eligible for a full three-month sabbatical.
With the support and encouragement of the Elder Executive Board, Pastor Joey and his family applied for and received a grant from the Lilly Endowment Fund’s Clergy Renewal Program to fund an entire 13-week Sabbatical in the summer of 2021. Praise God for his provision!
The Clergy Renewal Program had one key question: “what would make your heart sing?” For Pastor Joey and his family, the answer was easy: to slow down as a family, explore new cultures and places, wander Europe together, and live cross-culturally in one place long enough to make new friends.
Below is part of a statement written by Pastor Joey in their application:
It has been my joy and privilege to serve Faith Church for the past ten years, first as Pastor of Faith Student Ministry and now as the co-Lead Pastor focused on teaching and discipleship strategy.
As I consider the next decade of ministry at Faith, I look forward to a time to read, pray, walk, explore, think, learn, and grow. Because of the relentless pace of ministry, transitions within the church and my job, and little time for renewal, I long for a time to unplug from the ministry schedule and focus on my wife and our daughter, our gift from God. We don’t want Ana’s memories of her childhood to be mostly of me gone to late-night meetings. This renewal program will provide a strong relational foundation of belonging as she moves into her middle- and high-school years.
Spiritually, I long for an opportunity to learn a new rhythm of life, explore a relationship with God built on regular habits of worship, and develop a rhythm of life that honors my family, my ministry, and my God.
I hope to take what we learn and help the families in our congregation develop their own rule of life, built on rhythms of individual and family worship that deepen personal and family discipleship.
Pastorally, I eagerly anticipate the opportunity to dive into a post-Christian culture. I want to learn from Christian practitioners and ministers in that culture how to effectively give witness to the gospel without compromising the evangelical, orthodox faith.
Through extended time in Amsterdam and connection with ministers and practitioners in the Netherlands, I want to study and explore how to maintain that tension at home in a city rapidly becoming more pluralistic and less accommodating to Christianity.
I hope what I learn will help Pastor Jeff and I lead our congregation toward a faithful life in our changing culture.
As elders and leaders at Faith, we’re praying for Pastor Joey and his family to have a truly restful and renewing Sabbatical. We want them primed and equipped to lead us and be with us for another decade to come!