Friday, July 29, 2011

A Letter to Whipple Creek Church

I wanted to share with you a letter that was sent out to our church today.

Sabbatical Letter
To the Church of Whipple Creek
July 2011

Dear Church,

It’s hard to believe it was 10 years ago, that I, along with a dedicated group of people, about 20 or so of us, started Whipple Creek. We knew that God wanted to do something different in Vancouver, and that He wanted to use Real People who were living Real Lives to give people who were far from God Real Hope, what God intended the Real Church to be. And YOU are now a part of that journey.

Much has happened in the last 10 years, and I know God has much more for us in the next 10! The 10 years have been filled with blessing, hurts, joys, surprises, miracles, sadness, a lot of spiritual battle and a lot of God-things! But it has all been worth it.

With that said, I want to be ready for the next 10 years, knowing God has new challenges ahead for me and for Whipple. I want to be ready for it and be refreshed and renewed to lead the charge that God has entrusted me with and called me to do.  With the encouragement of wise counsel, I have decided to take a sabbatical this year. Sabbaticals are typically taken every 7th year in the life of a pastor. Sabbaticals can last anywhere from one month to a full year. This season will be a time of renewal, refocus and rest.

The “Sabbatical” idea is based on a Sabbath day of rest. Its purpose is for pastors to strengthen relationships with Christ and family and then to return to ministry refreshed, recharged and renewed.  When pastors are refreshed, recharged and renewed, so is the church.  My hope is that you’ll be supportive of my decision to take a sabbatical this fall.  Please join me in asking the Lord to make this time valuable for both my family and our church.

I enjoy ministry and am enthusiastic about the future of Whipple, though there is an undeniable sense of weightiness and a spiritual battle that simply goes with the territory. Those who know me best will agree that this Sabbatical is well-timed.  Our family will be distributing prayer cards, much like missionaries give out, so that you will know how you can be praying for us. We would be grateful for all your prayers for us.

I will be away from Whipple Creek from September 6th until November 27th. I'm happy to say that we have an incredible staff that will be sharing the responsibilities and leading the charge at Whipple during this time.  You’ll be receiving more emails, newsletters and letters from them in the month of August.

As far as the preaching/teaching goes, there will be several different people filling in as guest speakers, but you will know most of them, and they are men who I trust a great deal and who all love Whipple and its people. I know you'll be encouraging and supportive of them, just as you are to me - thank you!

To maximize this sabbatical rest, I've broken the time up into two general sections.  The first will be a time of Rest and Recovery.  I'll take the first part to simply catch my breath, spend some time with my bride and family.

This will be followed by a time of Reflection and Realignment. In the process, I want to meet with pastors and church leaders across the country who have inspired me, advised me and become good friends. My family and I want to see how we can bless these servants.

I'll be updating my blog at on a regular basis if you would like to follow us on our journey as I process things “out-loud.”

In the coming weeks, you’ll be hearing who is taking care of what, so that you’ll know “who” to contact with questions or concerns. I believe this is going to be an awesome time for Whipple as we all step out in faith and step-up and into “owning” our Church. I believe this is the direction God has for us and the direction we need to go, in order to make us the Church that God has planned for us for the future.

In the meantime, if you have questions, comments, or concerns, please email me, text me, Facebook me, heck you can even talk to me or call me!

It's a privilege to serve together with you, and as your pastor, and I'm thankful for the terrific staff, elders and ministry teams around me.  I look forward to returning with a renewed vision of how Great God truly is, and a fresh understanding of how I might best serve Him at Whipple. I truly believe, the best for all of us is yet to come!

In His Grip,

(For those who I've been friends with via social networking, if we are in you neck of the woods, I'd love to see you!)