Sabbatical Letter

To my dear SNC brothers and sisters,
 
If you were not able to join us for the worship service last Sunday then it is possible you have not heard that I will be taking a sabbatical this summer. This is something the elders and I have been deliberating and praying over for the last few months, although the process it has taken to simply even arrive at considering a sabbatical has taken almost a year. God has been working and leading in this.
 
What is a sabbatical? Perhaps this is a new word for you. Well, to put it as simply as I can, a sabbatical is a set period of time for a pastor to step away from their ministry duties in order to draw near to the Lord for a variety of different reasons. The major reasons tend to be: rest; prayer and fresh learning/vision.
 
Sabbaticals are becoming more and more common for pastors nowadays. They are commonly seen as one of those factors that aid pastors in combating what is becoming more and more common in this profession: burnout. Sabbaticals also are a good time to step away, to perhaps learn some things they wouldn’t really be freed up to learn had they stayed in the every day grind of ministry.
 
As this year has progressed, it has become more and more apparent to me that God is doing some very deep work in me. He is working at the heart of some things that will impact who I am as a minister and as a man. It has not been easy. As I’ve met with mentors, doctors, my therapist, my spiritual director, the elders of our church and other people I respect, a sabbatical has been recommended to me and affirmed repeatedly and when this happens it gets hard to deny this seems to be the leading of God.
 
One thing I’m grateful for is a great team of men who have arisen to preach and lead in my absence. Obviously our elders will still be here and each of these men has my respect. I would feel no concern in recommending you to meet with any of them should you have needs for prayer or counsel as they are very wise and godly men. We will have great preaching for our Sunday morning worship services, and we have wonderful team leaders who will resume their leadership in my absence as well.
 
Our church is in a good place and that is a major reason why I also feel freed to step away for this short season.
 
Some final details:
– My sabbatical will officially begin on Tuesday June 21st. I am hoping to return in September, as our original plan for sabbatical is 3 months. The standard amount of time for sabbaticals tends to range from 3-6 months although many of them are closer to 3 months.
– During the time of my sabbatical, should you have needs, please feel free to contact Amber, our admin assistant and she can connect you with an elder or team leader. I will not be actively pursuing my emails during this time- so please feel free to email her and she will get you where you need to go. Please do not feel hurt if I do not email you back, as I will likely not be checking my work email address.
 
A few weeks ago I met with my spiritual director and he said to me: “Ryan you need to remember that this sabbatical is a gift to you from God.” I am aware of what kind of gift this is and am so grateful to the SNC elders and to you for your support in this time. The Lord is truly at work and while it has not been easy, I can see that it is good. May God bless you all and we’ll see you on Sundays over these next few weeks!
 
May you experience the great and wonderful peace of God today,
Pastor Ryan