A Busy Pace
Well, Pastor Mark left for his sabbatical on Monday, and as you can imagine the staff are now all lounging around in the church offices, sipping mai tai’s and watching what’s left of the World Cup.
Actually, as I sat in meetings with staff yesterday I asked folks whether they thought the pace would change in the next two months. Believe it or not, things go on apace. And maybe even get a little busier in some cases. Our facilities staff ramp up a bit as they do summer maintenance. Middle schoolers are heading to Nez Perce next week, and high schoolers continue to meet in homes every week. Hot Topics ramps up in a few weeks, keeping Ellis White busy-er. The worship staff are occupied planning and praying about what this Fall will look like. Perhaps the children’s ministry staff will get a break after the great job they did hosting Day Camp. Perhaps…
A busy pace isn’t necessarily a bad thing. To me, it means that God is doing things at Chapel Hill! What might be more important than the pace we keep is rhythm. In fact, God ordained a rhythm in our lives and called it Sabbath. Six days we work, on the seventh we rest. And we find that if we don’t keep this simple rhythm, we burn out. Sabbath should be as natural as breathing, and for our spiritual and emotional lives it might be as vital. If we don’t pursue rhythm, our bodies and souls will force it on us. This is what burn out is after all, a forced rest.
My goal for our staff is not necessarily that we take a break these next couple of months, but that we find rhythm in the midst of perpetual business. That means taking more opportunities to reflect, for recreation, for change of scenery (I led a meeting with student ministries staff sitting outside on the grass this week), for worship, and for fellowship. All of these are elements of a Sabbath rhythm by the way.
The Sabbath rhythm is not just a weekly practice, it’s a daily one too. After all, the point of Sabbath isn’t simply to stop working, it’s to meet with God and in that meeting find true rest. Every time you stop in a busy moment to pray, or arise early to meditate on Scripture, or pause on your way to something to listen to the sound of birds singing, you practice Sabbath rest. And this is no less true of an individual than it is for an organization, especially a church.
In that sense, I’m hoping our staff takes a sort of sabbatical along with Pastor Mark these next couple of months. May we all, congregation and staff, experience day by day the words of Jesus, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”