From the Editor. Few ministers in the OPC have been given a sabbatical. Those who have, enjoy the spiritual and intellectual refreshment. In the OPC and most NAPARC churches slim resources simply do not allow such a means of ministerial renewal. David VanDrunen has written an excellent article this month on "Sabbaticals for Pastors." In fact, David is on a sabbatical as I write. Hopefully his argument in favor of pastoral sabbaticals will at least convince fellow officers that sabbaticals are not a luxury we can ill afford. I would argue that they are a necessity that we can ill afford to do without. My own session was very open to the idea until the economic downturn made it impossible to consider for the time being. I suspect this, as well as perennially limited resources, is the case for most who read OS.
However, we need to take the long view and plan to do better in the future if we want to cultivate a healthy ministry in the OPC. Four ways of solving the problem come to mind. In addition to David VanDrunen's excellent practical suggestions, consider the following. 1) Make the sabbatical doable by limiting it to between one and three months every seven to ten years. 2) Some congregations could budget a small amount each year. 3) Presbyteries could have a fund for sabbaticals with an eye to assisting smaller congregations. 4) Since the greatest expense is pastoral/pulpit supply, some of us who are nearing so-called "retirement age" may choose to shift gears in our mid-sixties and serve the larger church in different ways. One of those ways could be to offer our services to other churches for minimal compensation in order to make pastoral sabbaticals feasible.
The depth and quality of preaching is especially jeopardized by the fast pace of our distracting world. The church, then, is in need of cultivating the biblical idea and practice of rest, also known as Sabbath keeping.
Blessings in the Lamb,
Gregory Edward Reynolds
From the Archives: "SABBATH"
- "Whither the Sabbath?" (Terry Johnson) 8:3 (Jul. 1999): 69-70.
Ordained Servant exists to help encourage, inform, and equip church officers for faithful, effective, and God glorifying ministry in the visible church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Its primary audience is ministers, elders and deacons of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, as well as interested officers from other Presbyterian and Reformed churches. Through high quality editorials, articles, and book reviews we will endeavor to stimulate clear thinking and the consistent practice of historic Presbyterianism.