Dear Water’s Edge Family,
“Thank you” doesn’t seem like nearly enough. The process for my renewal leave started over a year ago with our staff-parish relations committee. This team was so supportive and strongly suggested we move forward. They recommended the sabbatical to our leadership team who was also very affirming and excited.
We then wrote a grant to the Lilly Foundation. The grant focused on my growth as a disciple and pastor and also looked at ways the staff and congregation could grow and develop during my time away. More ownership by more people has been one of our goals. It’s God’s vision for the church. My prayer is that I return as a more effective and balanced pastor to a congregation who is even stronger than you are now.
When our leadership team announced my family and I were going to be gone this summer, your words were encouraging and uplifting. I am aware this summer will be a change for you. And, I want you to know your kindness is a blessing to Amber, Benjamin, David, and me.
You all are our family. You have shared some of your best moments with us and we have also been through some tough times together. You have loved and cared for Benjamin and David like they are your own. You add great value to us and make our lives better. I say this to let you know we will miss all of you during the time we are away.
I’m excited to preach on May 1st. It will be the last sermon I preach for a while. I am looking forward to spending lots of time reading God’s word and praying. I’m eager to finish writing the two books that I haven’t been quite able to finish. I can’t wait for Amber and the boys to meet their family in Norway.
I’m even more excited for August 15th. I’ll take Benjamin to school. Then I’ll drive to the office. I’m always the first one there. Hopefully they don’t change the locks or the passcode! And I’ll get to work. We have a church to build and a city to love and a next generation to invest it.
Thanks again. It still doesn’t seem like enough. But it’s the first phrase that comes to mind. Thanks for this opportunity for me and my family.