Sabbatical

To say that I am a busy man at church as a layman would be an understatement. I have a passion for doing things right and giving 100%. If someone needed my help with something and I agreed to help, I am all in.

That’s how I view my Christianity. When I decided to follow Jesus I knew that I would give Him my all. I asked my wife (then girlfriend) as I started to change internally from spending time with God: “I know you fell in love with the guy I was, a rebellious man and a punk. But I feel like I am changing… are you going to love me for the man I am going to be?” Of course she said yes.

Ever since I decided to follow Jesus, I knew that He required me to be part of the body of Christ. It is an essential part of being a Christian. One who says they are a Christian and does not need to be part of the church in mission, mindset, and gathering is not paying attention to His Word. “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-26. “so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.” Romans 12:5. Also read 1 Corinthians 12.

I see many people who come to church and suck everything in. They leave and that’s it. They don’t involve themselves in the church work and leave it to the pastors and the few laborers that Jesus spoke about in Matthew 9:37. They really are consumers of fruit and not producers of fruit. I NEVER want to be that way.

I always think about what I can do to help the church complete His mission. I am a problem solver by nature and if I don’t know how to do something, I will figure it out. Combining that with a tendency to say yes to people when they need help with something has created a very busy situation for me. As soon as I come into church, there are 1-2 people ready to ask me something. And when I go home, I get feeling a little lonely because those same people don’t really communicate with me outside the church unless they need something. And that affected me in the way I treated them in my heart and in my mind. They and I deserve a better Kevin.

While I have been consumed with helping the body of Christ, I have been neglecting this body for Christ. While I have been united in the body of Christ, I have been divided in my own spiritual walk. Many days I find myself too tired to open God’s Word and neglect my prayer time. And the times I am ready for it is when I am ready for bed.

Some people burn out because they don’t recognize this. Me? I am always critiquing my intentions and my mindset and so being able to recognize this as a problem, I knew of only one solution: Take a sabbatical from church and get back on the right track. The church can run without me. I don’t have to fix anything. God’s got this. Does He need me? Yes. Can He move the church forward without me? Yes.

Finally, my Sabbaths have been restful days. No worries. Were there thoughts about things at church? Of course, but I tried to suppress them whenever they came up. I spent a lot of time watching the Gods at War small group DVD series by Kyle Idleman and also reading the book. I don’t want things to become gods and idols in my life that take me away from the true God. Sometimes that could be church work, as it is in my case.

I love the church so much because it is where I started to fall in love with Jesus. I guess that is why I feel so dedicated to it, in addition to my responsibility as a Christian.

I love the church so much because it is where I started to fall in love with Jesus.
As I began my sabbatical I felt enormous pressure being lifted off of me, but I also started to wonder what to do with my time. lol. Many evenings I would think about ministry things and it would consume my thoughts, but now I was to think about me. This was strange for me. I don’t ever want to become selfish and only think of myself… but I need to simplify my life to be more efficient for God. How was I to do this? Start bowing out of things that God has not led me into. God led me into youth ministry work and He has yet to lead me out of it. Just because I can do some things doesn’t mean I should do them. I need to let other people stand up and be accounted for with their own responsibility for Christ and His church. People are going to have to get used to me saying no to things. I have to start saying no to recalibrate my mind… and recalibrate how I respond to some people who always expect things from me.

I can limit myself in order to be the most fruitful for Jesus I can be. God doesn’t want the busyness to be the end of me.
Seeing Jesus, who had access to all things and had the ability to do whatever He wanted, choose to find Himself limited in order to make His mission life complete gives me pause to rethink my life that I don’t have to fix everything and I don’t have to be involved in everything. I can limit myself in order to be the most fruitful for Jesus. God doesn’t want the busyness to be the end of me.

My hope is that I become more missional about what I do for God. There are many things I want to do for the youth in addition to what I already do. I want to apply my 100% towards what God has commissioned me to do. The other things at church can now be secondary.

The fallen one thought he had me, but Jesus is really the One that holds me in His hands.
The fallen one knows how to distract people from doing God’s work. With some he gets church folks to be involved in so many things outside of church that they have no time for the church, nor for personal reflection in Christ. For others, he gets them so busy at church that the 100% in certain ministries start to fall to 90%… and then 80%… and so on until anything they do doesn’t really make an eternal impact for Christ and His mission. I thank God that He has enabled me to have vision to see this and I know that the fallen one is already planning his response to what God wants me to do. With Christ’s help, I am ready to combat him. The fallen one thought he had me, but Jesus is really the One that holds me in His hands.

There are many people that are involved in the work at my church. My hope is that more people step up to the plate and do something. I hear “My family is my mission field.” I get that and believe that to be true, but if you are teaching them by your non-participation in the church work that church is not important, don’t blame the church if your child leaves it later in life. Show them that being part of the body of Christ is being connected with the work of His church. And when you are connected with the church and part of its body, then the fields that are ready for harvest will have more laborers to harvest it. I heard once that God only brings the amount of people into the church that the church can handle. Imagine what it would look like if we were all working and harvesting the fields.

I am not where I want to be, spiritually (are we ever there?), as my month-long sabbatical from church comes to a close. But I am ready to start this process of removing myself from things that take away from my personal walk in Jesus. Will I continue to be involved in church life? Yes. But I believe I now have the capacity and foresight to say no to things that other people can do.

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