As some of you may know, this year I am going on a sabbatical. My family and I will be taking this time starting the day after I return from Summer Camp, July 5th. When this time of rest was first offered to us, Stacie and I were excited, confused and conflicted all at the same time. Like all of us, thinking about time to rest and recharge is awesome, but working out the details of how and when this would happen was tough. Our biggest concern was how we would make time for the sabbatical without letting all the ministries we oversee take a huge hit. I have been consistently reminded over the last 9 months that my ministry is not my ministry. God’s movement in Port Angeles and our church are all God’s, not mine. I’m being reminded (over and over) that God is moving, and I had better do my best, through prayer and study, to see that movement and align myself with God. I don’t know if you have ever tried to move apart from God, but you will find that things just don’t work, all of the blessings and provisions that we hope for just aren’t there. I believe this time of rest and recharging will be blessed by God so that we will get a clearer picture of God’s movement. I believe it will be a great time of realignment.
Just to give you an idea of what we are shooting for in this time, I will give you my main goals that I believe would please God.
Time with Family
My family puts up with a lot. Alot of our friends have 7-7:30pm bedtime schedules for their kids, we on the other hand have 9-9:30pm bedtimes for Mason and Taylor, not because we are trying to raise night-owl party animals, but because most week-nights our ministries get us home around 8:30. Our ministry schedule has really shaped our evenings and family time, so while we get ready for sabbatical, one of my biggest goals is to love my family. I want more than anything for Mason and Taylor to grow up loving God and loving His church. I can’t wait to share this time with Stacie and the kids.
Time with God
Ministry takes it’s toll. When things get busy and lives get stressful, I find it really hard to have quality time with God. I’m not talking about cruising through a short devotional (which can be just as hard sometimes), I’m talking about really soaking in God’s presence and seeking Him daily. I want this to be a time with God and a time walking alongside my family, as we seek God together.
There is something to be said for taking breaks. Many blogs that I read describe the importance of not working through your lunch breaks and making intentional times to get up and step away from your work, even if for 15 minutes. These breaks give us a chance to return with a fresh view or a new perspective. The Bible is very clear that we are to each have a day of rest, a sabbath. It turns out that we aren’t really that good at following one of the most restful directions from God. We fill up the sabbath with tons of stuff: yard work, homework, cooking, cleaning, maintaining and sometimes we just work through the sabbath. I’ve done it, you have done it, we all do it. However, the point remains that God still wants us to have time to rest and step away from the work. The word sabbatical comes directly from that 7th day of rest, that sabbath. We plan to take this entire time and be away. We may not be physically away from Port Angeles the entire time, but we will be away from our normal ministry obligations the entire time. This will look a little strange to some, but we will be worshiping apart from our FBC family. I believe this will be a healthy time for us to step away from what we know as normal and what we see as work, to connect as a family.
As I mentioned earlier, it is extremely hard to imagine being away from a ministry that you care so deeply for, but if I can stress this even more, this isn’t my ministry, It’s God’s. I can’t think of anything more fruitful than to take time to gather with the One who is truly in control, with no strings attached and no competing agendas.
If I could ask a few things of you while we are gone, please be praying for us. I am very aware that there is still an enemy not wanting these things from our time away, an enemy that will actively be working against us while we are away; please be praying against this. Please pray for our travels, we plan to be on the road a good portion of our trip, and we surely aren’t immune to breakdowns or accidents. And last but not least, please pray for the above goals of the sabbatical. Thank you for caring for our family in this time; we can’t wait to share with you the joy of this time together.
- Chris Cummings
This article originally appeared in the June 2014 edition of the FBC newsletter. Click here to view the rest of this newsletter.