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Pastor Joseph's Sabbatical Letter

Dear Friends,

The church council, our district leadership and our leadership team has given me a gift of an extended pastoral renewal break coming this spring. I am extremely grateful that our church has a set policy that allows for each of its pastors to take a periodic sabbatical break from our regular church life and duties. This personal renewal is a time to stop, to rest, to delight, to research, to play, and to be rejuvenated by Jesus.

For pastors, the practice of a sabbatical renewal becomes particularly important because of the role we carry in the church. The weight of spiritual leadership is hard to explain or quantify, and yet it can take a very tangible toll on a leader’s body, soul and longevity. Our council and leadership are very cognizant of these realities and are being proactive.

My sabbatical renewal time will be from April 2 till July 3, 2018.

Some of the highlights of this time will be a Footsteps of the Apostle Paul Tour starting April 2nd. Christy and I will be going with other pastors and leaders as we explore Ephesus, Corinth, Athens, Crete, Patmos, Pompeii and Rome. We will also extend that trip a few days and reflect on a few milestones that we will be hitting during this break; 24 years of marriage, 21 years of licensed pastoral ministry, 7 years of ministry in Rhinelander! Pastor Christy will NOT be taking a sabbatical and will continue her normal role as a staff pastor and weekend speaker after this trip. After that I will be in the Northwoods. I have several different days of solitude walks planned, hanging out in various small towns (as well as two big ones), sleeping in my hammock, journaling, transporting my kids around, building something and a motorcycle trip around Lake Superior. I also have a book reading list and will be doing a 60-day guided study through A Resilient Life by Gordan MacDonald. .

So, I am going to do some great things, but there are also things I will not do. The things I will deliberately cease from are: Social Media (I might post some pictures on Instagram of where I am at), email, my phone, general web surfing, content-creation (no sermon writing or planning, etc), and speaking at any churches or conferences.

What about our Grace Northwoods Churches? Well, as you know we have an amazing team of staff and volunteer-leaders! Pastor Dustin will be the Lead Pastor and is authorized by me and our District to make any decisions at the moment or for the future.

Would you also be engaged in this time? I am asking that everyone consider elevating their level of involvement. Let’s have this be a time when our church expands because you invited your friends, our giving increases because you decided to sacrificially give and we create more opportunities to serve because everyone wants to get involved. Let’s have our best come out of this time.

Pray that we would be in awe of what the Lord does in and through each of us and our churches in the Northwoods during the months ahead.

Serving Together,

Pastor Joseph

Ps. Check out the Q&A blog post for more details about the pastoral renewal time.

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Questions & Answers for Pastor Joseph's Sabbatical

What is a sabbatical (pastoral renewal)? The term sabbatical is derived from the biblical concept of “Sabbath” which serves an ancient human need to build periods of rest and rejuvenation into a life