Seven years on and the latest Sabbatical starts. Methodist Ministers are entitled to a period of three months Sabbatical Leave after their first ten years of service and every seven years thereafter. This leave is for reflection and further study. My third Sabbatical started on Monday 28th April and is round the theme "BIG"! I will be looking at Big Churches, Big (Christian) Events, learning (Big) Bass and doing a Big Swim (well slightly improving on the number of times I swim each week).
I hope what will happen during this Sabbatical is that I will be drawn away from usual pathways and find I am encountering God through the Burning Bushes he calls me aside to. There I pray I might find holy ground.
I have been swimming on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and today (oops that's every day - pat on back :-)) making almost 2 miles of swimming. I also managed to walk from Portland to Weymouth before swimming on Tuesday. So add 6 miles of walking into the mix. I have started a book called Exponential (by Ferguson and Ferguson), which is about "How you and your friends can start a Missional Church Movement", So far so good. If I were to summarise the opening chapters it suggests we must breed like rabbits and organise like early Methodists".
I have also managed to book some flights for Glasgow where I will be exploring the Church's response to the opportunities afford by Commonwealth Games - Glasgow 2014. The Commonwealth Games are a terrific opportunity for the Christian Church to connect with people and to share something of the love of God. I feel deeply privileged to have been involved with organising "Refresh 2012", which was The Church in Weymouth and Portland's response to the opportunities the Olympics brought to our area with Sailing events being in this part of the world. I think Christians and the Church in this country need to seize the moment when these big, once in a lifetime opportunities come along. Sometimes in some places we do and sometimes in some places......
Meanwhile the life of Portland Methodist Circuit continues without me. That is so good, for if a church collapses without the presence of one or two individuals it probably means that it is centred around the presence of those individuals rather than Christ. Portland Methodist Circuit is a small circuit within the Methodist Connexion but with a big heart and with big dreams. It is a privilege to be associated with the circuit in any way, shape or form. Sadly because the circuit is small and because geographically it is away from the decision making centres of Methodism little attention is paid to the innovations or Godly risk taking discipleship that goes on there. Sad really when Methodism faces such challenges.
Anyway back to the Sabbatical. Where would I be without Amazon! I ordered a guitar case for my Bass Guitar earlier in the week and despite being told that it would be with me in several days it actually arrived the next day having travelled all the way from Scotland. And it is a perfect fit!
Already this feels like a different rhythm. I guess in the end though what is important is not whether it is a different rhythm, but whether it is God's rhythm. And the burning bushes? One or two small fires already :-).