August 1st, my wife and I began the journey of a 31-day sabbatical, the unexpected grace gift from a loving, caring congregation. This is the second time that our gracious church has blessed us in such a marvelous way. Hence, in the days to come, I will be writing from the lessons learned and the experiences shared on this journey.
First of all, I want to share from my heart what it says about Boones Creek Bible Church in gifting us with 31 days away.
- They value the eternal over the temporal.
The purpose of a pastor going away on a sabbatical is for him to spend uninterrupted time in prayer, study, reading, seeking God’s face, being still, and hearing from the Lord about his life, his marriage, and the ministry to which he is called. It is a time to rest, refresh, repent, refine, recharge, recount, refocus, replenish, renew and rejoice. Why? Because a church understands the intense spiritual war in which they are engaged and are set on having their leader be ready to lead them to make a difference in the world for the cause of Christ through the power of God’s Word. Boones Creek Bible Church is living for the Bema where an eternal perspective and motivation matters the most (1 Corinthians 3:10-15; Philippians 2:16).
- They value the call of God upon their pastor.
1 Cor. 1:18-31; Colossians 1:27-28; 2 Timothy 2:19-26; 4:2-5; 2 Cor. 11:23-28
The great need of the hour is found in Paul’s admonition to Timothy, Preach the Word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry (2 Timothy 4:2-5).
Men who are genuinely called of God to preach the Word and who stand for the cause of Christ, need times of refreshment so they can fulfill the ministry today and finish well tomorrow. We retreat only to advance.
- They value the testimony of their pastor, his wife, their marriage and their home.
1 Timothy 3:1-5
Boones Creek Bible Church understands the rigors of ministry not only upon the pastor but his wife. Denise works very closely with me in ministry by her choice. She, too, needed this time away to have the same work of grace accomplished in her heart.
We also live by the principle that a great marriage only occurs when you work at it every day. Satan would love to destroy this precious gift. Our time away has given us the opportunity to deal with some issues, pray together, and further fine tune this precious grace gift.
- They value the training/discipleship opportunity for their assistant pastor.
What a great opportunity for a young man, called into the ministry, and ordained by Boones Creek Bible Church to be at the helm for one whole month. What better place to learn, to be in “the lab,” than among a congregation that loves, supports, prays, and encourages him. After having been here for two years, Pastor Andrew has been involved in ministry is so many ways, but not as the shepherd of the flock. For instance, one Sunday during the month, he taught Sunday School, led the singing, and preached in the morning and evening services. Also during the month, he led teen outings, hosted missionaries and a college music group, made visits, took phone calls, served communion, organized the services, and worked side-by-side with the deacons and our administrative assistant, as well as a host of other ministry opportunities.
Thank you, BCBC, for your heart to see Pastor Andrew fulfill the ministry (1 Timothy 4:5) for God’s glory!
- They value the use of spiritual gifts.
Can a church survive if the undershepherd is away for a month? Yes it can because Christ is the Chief Shepherd of the church (1 Peter 5:4), and the body functions well when it uses its spiritual gifts (Romans 12:1-8). BCBC did not “miss a beat” while we were away because Spirit-empowered people ministered by the grace of God. They “filled in the gaps” as Christ worked through them in continuing to build His Church (Matthew 16:18).
Boones Creek Bible Church . . . THANK YOU!! We love you, appreciate you, serve with you, and look forward to our eternal life in Glory with Christ Jesus our Lord!