Craig took a sabbatical / renewal leave during the summer of 2016. His sabbatical began on May 1st and ended on August 14th.
The Water’s Edge is a United Methodist Church. Craig is an ordained United Methodist clergy. The United Methodist Church encourages pastors at churches for seven consecutive years to enter a season of renewal leave. At the beginning of his leave, Craig had served southwest Omaha for eleven years. During that time, The Water’s Edge has grown from a dream to what it is today.
Craig and The Water’s Edge received a grant from the Lilly Foundation to cover the expenses of this sabbatical. This program allows congregations to support their pastors with the gift of extended time away from ministerial duties and responsibilities. Pastors use the respite from congregational leadership for reflection and renewal, which often includes travel, scholarly research, and immersive experiences with different cultures and traditions. Renewal periods are not vacations, but times for intentional exploration and reflection and for regaining enthusiasm and creativity for ministry.
One of Craig’s goals was to renew his relationship with God. He engaged in daily patterns of prayer, Scripture reading, and journaling. Craig’s goal was to return to us a stronger spiritual leader.
Craig will also engaged in times of study and training. His desire was to grow as a leader. He participated in a conference for large church pastors in Atlanta. He spent a week in New York City at a boot camp for stand-up comedians. Watch his debut as a stand-up comedian at the Gotham Comedy Club. Craig finished writing Prayers from The Water’s Edge. It will be available in November, 2016. Craig also worked on Trampled by Geese – a book that merges the teachings of Christ, the writings of Soren Kierkegaard, and the needs of today’s American culture. This book and a related small group curriculum will be released in the fall of 2017.
Craig and his family visited many churches in Omaha and Europe during his renewal leave. This gave them an opportunity to worship together as a family and allowed Craig to learn best practices from healthy congregations and bring those ideas back to The Water’s Edge.
Most of the month of May was spent in and around Omaha. He spent time at home, a cabin at Platte River State Park, and volunteering with some of our ministry partners: Together Omaha, Release Ministries, and The Hope Center for Kids. When school ended, Craig and his family traveled to Europe for seven weeks. They started with visits to London, Paris, Brussels, and Amsterdam. They then traveled to Denmark where Craig studied at the University of Copenhagen. Next, they went on an eleven-day cruise and visited Berlin, Tallinn, St. Petersburg, Riga, Helsinki, and Stockholm. They ended their time in Europe visiting family in Norway which included visits to Oslo, Flam, Bergen, and Stavanger. The family will also spent a few weeks at a house on Table Rock Lake in Missouri.
Craig resumed pastoral duties at The Water’s Edge on August 15th.