Dear Redeemer family, Next week, David Juelfs, our beloved Senior Pastor, will begin his three-month sabbatical from seven years of pastoral ministry. His sabbatical will begin May 17th and continue through August 15th. In light of Pastor David’s upcoming sabbatical, here is the million dollar question for the rest of us:
“What are we going to do while he is away?”
Here are some suggested ways that we as a congregation can prepare for this sabbatical - mind, heart, body, and spirit - in order to receive all the enrichment and blessing God intends for us during this season.
I encourage you to take some time one of these Sundays to read and meditate upon the rhythms of rest and work in your own life and consider the potential a weekly Sabbath has to enhance your quality of life and relationships with God and others. Jesus reminded us that “the Sabbath was made for man” (Mk 2), and Scripture tells us that there are many benefits for God’s people in keeping the Sabbath and entering into seasons of sabbatical. The Church’s beliefs and practices concerning the rest, delight, blessing, healing, holiness, and mercy of the Sabbath are rooted in:
- Creation (Gen 2; Ex 20)
- Israel (Ex 16, 20; Lev 25; Num 15; Dt 5; Is 58; Jer 17; Neh 10)
- Jesus (Mt 11, 12; Mk 2; Lk 4; Jn 5)
- Church (Jn 20; Acts 20; 1 Cor 16; Rev 1)
- New Creation (Heb 4; Rev 21-22)
Prayer serves as an invitation for us to use this season of sabbatical to ask God to reveal himself as wholly present to us and to bestow good things on us. So would you consider praying for this sabbatical season on specific days and times? Perhaps you could spend five minutes a few times a week using the Lord’s Prayer as a guide (see HERE). Our prayers could be a significant factor in the quality of this sabbatical both for the Juelfs family and for Redeemer.
Relationship with David
A sabbatical needs to be away from the day-to-day life of the church. For a person whose whole life and career is about encouraging, challenging, and caring for others, the lines between work and friendship are blurry. Calls, e-mails, text messages, and visits from the congregation, though well-intentioned, can distract or drain the pastor and interfere with “the work of rest.”
That said, we need to give the Juelfs family space and let them disengage from Redeemer relationships for a while. If they need us, the ball is in their court to make the call, send the email, or show up on our doorsteps.
We are so blessed to have skilled pastors in our area who are able to help shoulder the load for Sunday preaching during the sabbatical so that I am not bearing it alone. Praise God for that! We are also blessed to have our Redeemer Elders who are also equipped to help lead us through portions of the liturgy.
Click HERE for information on our Summer Preaching Series. We are excited to host some great preachers who will beautifully exposit God’s Word to us this summer. We are very privileged to kick off this summer series with Rev. Dr. Jim Belcher, Redeemer’s founding pastor, on Sunday May 17th! Save the card for yourself, or better yet, give it to a friend or co-worker as an invitation to visit Redeemer this summer.
For the service itself to run smoothly we are working hard to make sure all of our Sunday morning ministry teams are functioning in a healthy manner. If you are currently serving as a housekeeping helper, on the sound team, or in the Children’s and Youth Ministries, your continued faithful service would be much appreciated. If you are interested in serving in any of these roles, please contact Kem Erskine, firstname.lastname@example.org.
We typically have a significant number of visitors during the summer, and it will be important not to rely solely on our leaders and the Welcome Team to be on the lookout for newcomers. Instead, we will need everyone who calls Redeemer home to practice hospitality. You can do that by simply sitting somewhere different during a worship service, finding someone new and introducing yourself, inviting them to lunch or to a meal in your home, and then following up with them in the subsequent weeks and inviting them to something social.
Over the summer our Session is dedicated to continue making sure that pastoral/shepherding care is at the forefront of their list. Our Deacons are also here to serve any congregational needs that arise. Redeemer is additionally blessed to have lay leaders including the Women’s Ministry team, Parish Chairmen, and your Community Group leaders to provide support and prayer for our church body. These are respected, safe, and trustworthy leaders. If you need any immediate assistance or care with challenges that may arise know that you have committed elders, deacons, leaders, and a pastor who are available to help and love you in your specific situation.
Know also that congregational care is not just from the leaders. As Redeemer members, we are able to mutually care, encourage, admonish, and love one another as needed. Let this summer be a season for us to intentionally reach out to one another. Have coffee with a friend, invite someone over for a BBQ, meet to pray and study the Scriptures with each other, and look out for opportunities to lovingly serve someone in an area where help would be appreciated.
I am humbled by and grateful for the opportunity to serve Pastor David and to serve Redeemer during this sabbatical. I invite you to pray with us that the Juelfs family would return from their sabbatical more refreshed than they could hope for and that they would return to find Redeemer more alive and flourishing than they could imagine.