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Summer 2021 announcement

May 25, 2021

Our elders and church leaders have decided that this summer is the right time for Pastors Ben & Rebecca to go on their first sabbatical.

The sabbatical will start June 14th and we will return on September 13th.

What is a sabbatical?

A sabbatical is an extended period of time offered to key leaders, by their church, to equip the church for its next season of opportunity and challenge.  It provides space away for renewal, strategic thinking, and personal change that will help to enhance the leader’s skills and overall well-being, and thus, those of the church. This is a health practice. It is not being implemented for an emergency repair of something broken.

The purpose of the sabbatical is not to be “nice to the leader.”  Instead, it is given in recognition of the rapidly changing landscape in which the church functions and with the awareness of the regular need of the leader to grow. For this purpose, this decision has been prayerfully undertaken by the guidance of our elders Additionally, we have received counsel from three pastors with similar experience who have strongly recommended this. Finally, we have engaged their recommended sabbatical coach who has already been guiding Pastors Ben & Rebecca through the suggested spiritual health journey. All seven leaders have unanimously recommended this season. They are praying for the City Harbor Church family. They see a hopeful vision for the outcome of this practice.

Who is the primary beneficiary of a sabbatical?

While it is easy to think that Pastors Ben & Rebecca are the primary beneficiaries, City Harbor Church, in fact, will benefit the most from their time away.  As the point leaders and teachers for City Harbor, their spiritual health impacts the whole church.  Their time away from the day-to-day to reflect on what the church family needs from them in the next season of ministry, will prove to be significantly beneficial for the future season of City Harbor Church ministry.

This time away will also strengthen the servant leadership of everyone who is a part of City Harbor Church.  These three months we will share in active participation. It will be a great opportunity for people to hear God’s call to serve.  God is going to use all of us working together!

What will Ben and Rebecca be doing for three months?

Reflection – God has done so much in the last ten years!  They will reflect on the many people, miracles, and stories of God’s faithfulness.  This will help them learn more about God’s purpose for our church.

Renewal – They will give attention to their own spiritual development through prayer, solitude, rest, reading, and thinking.

Reading – They need to set aside time to read large portions of the Scriptures and read refreshing works that will restore their souls and the joy of their salvation.

Relationship – They need to be intentional in their relationships with God, each other, their kids, and their mentors.

Rest – They will be pursuing rest in the Lord as a family. This will include their vacation and some time with extended family.

Recreation – They have forgotten how to play.  They need to discipline themselves to exercise regularly.  They have a race to run in Baltimore; it is their calling to serve our church family and the Kingdom of God in Baltimore.  They need their physical health to do this.

Reconnaissance – They need to see what is ahead for their family and this church.  God has a clear purpose. They will be searching out the further revelation of God’s dream for our church family.

Questions?

Are Pastors Ben and Rebecca, okay?

Yes, they are in love with Jesus, the church family, and each other.

Are they coming back?

Yes, the purpose of this sabbatical is so that they will return healthy for the long-term.

How long is a sabbatical?

Three months. The sabbatical will start June 14th and they will return on September 13th.

Who will teach while Pastors Ben & Rebecca are gone?

A variety of our Baltimore pastor friends and network pastors will be teaching at our in-person Sunday services. There will also be Sunday message videos posted online every other week (accompanied by the podcast). The Pastor’s Daily will also continue to help with our daily New Testament reading.

Who will run the church while Pastors Ben & Rebecca are away?

Each ministry of the church has a team of people who serve in leadership.

The Team Leads will have access to the elders of our church, the additional pastors who are advising this process and have been involved with our church for some time, as well as other qualified ministry mentors who are available for counsel, guidance, and help with any possible emergencies.