Featured Post Chris Janson, The Power Of One

The Power Of One....Chris Janson

During our first pastorate in Perryville, Missouri, we had so many great experiences. One of those experiences was meeting a young man at t...

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Today is the first day of the rest of your life. It is new with no mistakes in it., full of GRACE!

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Break Time

Part of the healing process in renew, rest and restore is taking a break. Stepping back from the things that bring on the stress is so important.  Be back later. Taking a break from all media for awhile. 






Sunday, September 27, 2015

Quote For Today


Last Sunday Celebration

What a beautiful send off. How great are these precious people. We got to see who rises to the top. Love these people! God has wonderful things planned for you all . THE BEST IS YET TO COME!!!





















(6 years serving the Carthage as pastor and two years as pastors Retreat Host at the Precious Moments Wedding Island)











Friday, September 25, 2015

Sweet Date

I love day time dates. Nothing like spending time with the love of your life having sushi at Wasabi, seeing The Intern and playing golf. Awww.... it's so beautiful out doors.






GREAT MOVIE!!!



Slowing everything down and taking it all in....
Of course can not forget to add a little Starbucks in there. ..






How To Take A Ministry Sabbatical Part 1


No one can say there is only one way to take a sabbatical. We all are different with different areas that need to be healed. We look for ways in our area, of rest and restore to be able to let go. It can be difficult for a lot of pastoral families to know how to take one. I want to share with you by experience and a collective wisdom shared by much smarter men then us on ways to decompress from ministry. It can be altogether different when your taking a complete break from it all.
Some pastors love solitude. Then there are those that it would drive them crazy to have no one around. We have to take a look at a few things along the way that could fit into most ministers.
After losing my father-n-law to cancer in 2006(which took a toll on my husband) We decided to build a new home in Bolivar, MO. Not long after that my father was diagnosed with cancer. We lost him in 2010.  While in the middle of that our new home flooded from a builders mistake. We moved to Carthage, MO.
Starting in 2009 my husband and I renovated an entire 5 acre Island with chapel, guest house and a Mansion with organized groups over the period of one year. The task was enormous. During this time my father passed away with cancer. At the same time we took a 40 year old church with a history of problems. Rallied the group in excitement to do a total renovate of that church building as well. The small church (45) began to grow tremendously over a couple hundred in just a few years. The schedule was packed. It wasn't long before the same spirit took that same group and like minded extended family members, we came up against  3 Jezebels in a matter of two years. It started with one man who wanted to pastor the church with his own vision and wanted my husband to be a hireling. If you know anything about Anthony he is led by the Spirit of God and not by some controlling family board church. We were not their first rodeo. They had hurt many families and other pastors before us.  Soon after, that man gave his offense to his mother n law, then she gave it to the whole family and they then gave it to all their family and friends.  They destroyed themselves. We will never get an apology. They will take no responsibility and place the blame else where. It was a hard lesson to learn for them, but maybe they can make something right from this and actually do some good. After going through a devastating church split, I decided that I needed to home school my boys. Jezebel number 3 who we found out was working the entire time sewing seeds, the children's pastor. Then of course all the others who couldn't handle conflict had to jump ship.
 All the stress took a toll on my health and I learned to slow down and invest into ministries that were closest to my heart. At the same time the parsonage had black mold and we had to move. It was during that time I learned how to say NO. My husband felt that it was Gods will to take the remaining  precious group and revitalize a new church plant, rescue mission what ever you want to call it. We entered into ARC program and launched a new work. For a year we safely helped these people to grow and land them into a healing place so they could have a bright future. We love and respect them to this day. We saw how hard it was for them to go through that horrible event. We saw as well the toll it was taking on them to start this new work. There was a lot of new growth along the way and several new families were impacted for the Kingdom. Now....all of this happened within 7 years.

 It was time for some real rest. God spoke to Anthony about a ministry sabbatical. We had to make the hard decisions to step away for a while.
We packed in a lot with three sons, three dogs in a small  rural area.



We know how to work hard but at the same time we know how to play hard and we do it often. We know to hit a lot of retreats, mini and long vacations, dates, things we enjoy, eating right, healthy sleep and routine. Of course the greatest of these is a healthy Prayer life. We will try to work in lots of advice from some of the best mentors we can find. I do not recommend packing in so much. It just seemed to be the season for it. (Or maybe our stupidity)

Recently I was in a ministers wife retreat and to hear the stories of victory and defeat was astounding.
One of the young pastors wife that was there stated that she had to wear her new clothes
 ( gift) out in  public because if she wore her new dress to church someone would walk up and ask...Did you buy that with our tithe money?
Some of the things pastors face today.
This next list is something we have encountered.
  • After spending hours prepping a sermon, memorizing a sermon, studying, and praying being told that you are not deep enough.
  • Having people scrutinize your pay. Because it’s “Church work” many believe being a pastor means living as an indentured servant to the church. There are some pastors that live extravagantly or have abused church finances. There are also church boards who make it their job to pinch every penny. If a pastor drives a new car someone will complain, judge, and assume he is in it just for the money. I’ve heard so many complaints against pastors making money it has permanently left a mark. I don’t even mean to, but I feel I have to explain how we can afford to take a vacation, go to the movies, or buy something new. I’ll often start a story with, “Our friend gave us their house in Nags Head for the week. That’s the only way we could afford it.”
  • Have close relationships end because of a decision you’ve made. This happens all the time in the church world. I just met with a pastor who ended up leaving his church because some elders were mad he didn’t want to hire one of their granddaughters as the worship leader. She was still in high school and had zero experience in it. The church almost split because he kindly disagreed. This happens all the time. All. The. Time. Best friends become sworn enemies over night in the church world. I have seen more grace being shown towards Pastor Perry Noble after he admitted to struggling with alcohol than I have seen towards a pastor who disagreed with a church member, staff member, or church board. No one can keep all people happy. The pressure is unreal once a pastor realizes every relationship is one decision away from ending. When relationships end it’s never pretty. Many times the pastor learns the relationship is over from a third party source. Other times when the pastor is told a person is leaving a church the message seems to come out of no where.
  • Loneliness. Loneliness comes from multiple places. Because relationships can be fragile a pastor has to be incredibly careful who he trusts. When a pastor struggles there aren’t many who he can confide in. Often what is confessed ends up being ammunition against the pastor once church members become upset. According to Lifeway Research 55% of pastors feel lonely. Loneliness often comes because when things go bad pastors tend to try to take the high road. If a pastor posted the things he has seen behind the scenes it wouldn’t do anyone any good. During difficult seasons many pastors take the heat and never share their perspective. This isn’t saying every pastor is perfect. Pastors are imperfect people who can hurt others. But in a lot of instances when someone gets mad they blast the pastor to many people and the pastor is left trying to pick up the pieces with just his family. No one but my wife and counselor knows the full details of what led me to see a counselor. I attempted to blog about some of the struggles without being specific. That post led at least one person leaving the church. The feeling of loneliness during that season still weighs on me.
  • Having to deliver a sermon when you are spiritually empty. Every human I know goes through seasons in the proverbial desert. Sunday comes every week. No matter what is going on the church needs the pastor to deliver. Have you ever cried through an entire worship set and then had to get up to preach? Pastors must take care of themselves, but even the healthiest pastors go through seasons. Pete Wilson talked about trying to lead on empty. I don’t know a single pastor who cannot relate to that.
  • Temptation. No one asks the pastor about how he is dealing with temptation. It just doesn’t happen. But pastors are human. They struggle just like everyone else. With a lack of accountability it is easy to let things slide. Other times the pressure of the church world is so weighty a pastor literally feels the only way to escape is to sabotage his ministry by giving into temptation. Robshep.com
We have chosen to take a full one to two year Sabbatical from ministry.
I want to share experiences, decisions, and mistakes we make along the way of our retreat sabbatical that might help anyone reading that is in ministry looking to take a break.

Steps in taking a ministry sabbatical:
1. Know for sure in complete agreement that this is the next step for you and your family! You can relax in knowing God has caught your attention to step back and just breathe in him and heal.

2. Put your financial house in order so you can completely relax knowing God's got this and where he guides he will provide. Watch God open doors for you during this time. We set aside an amount for our year as well as added to it as we continued to work.  I believe he will send you to some of the best spiritual renewing places. I believe he will give you deals on traveling for you and your family. What ever you need listen to the Holy Spirit. He will guide you. Pray for open doors during this time.


3. Have complete closure when you leave your place of ministry. Leave with peace. So peace will follow you. Make peace. If you are still pastoring make sure everything is set up so you do not have to worry about every little thing but can completely cut off and relax.

4. Make a commitment to not set up hoops, challenges, major goals, accomplishments and manage your expectations during this season. Business and full schedules does not equal progress. It was hard for us the first month. We wanted to stay busy. We would find stuff to do. Our capacity was so large that we felt bored,  guilty, tired and grieving all at the same time. Get ready...you will have a clash of  different emotions. Adjust to give yourself time to set the towel aside and not serve for the entire sabbatical that you walk through. We found a great church for our kids as well as a place we could be renewed and get lost in the crowd. We just sat back and gleaned. We gave ourselves permission to be completely relaxed and let go. It was not easy.



5. Take out a notebook or laptop and set fun time aside to just dream about ways to feed for body, soul and spirit. List one for your spouse as well. Then make some fun ideas on how to recharge and connect to the family. Don't feel pressure in this process. Make it fun and adventurous. You might not be able to do it all, that's ok. Slowly seek to fulfill the major areas that you and your family are needing to heal.

6. 
Completely take time to unplug from all the attachments. We took time off from all media. It was a nice break.
7. 
Compromise and sacrifice is what you need to look at. Everyone will have to contribute to this one. Not all needs will be met. Not everyone gets to do what they want during this time. 

Excellent resource:

I have to admit one of the emotions I battled with (and there were many) was.... how this life without pastoring was too easy. I felt like I was not contributing to something greater. I remember one time during our sabbatical all I had as a major goal, was reorganize my closet. for the week. I remember thinking.....is this real. Do people only set small goals like this. I must not be normal.  I have to admit, there were thoughts of where I resented other Christians and how  their lives felt so small to me and they want to complain about not getting involved in church more. This life was beyond too simple. I felt often bored, unfulfilled and useless.
Then I had to repent. Who am I? I want a simpler life but when I have it I can't handle it? 
A couple of mistakes we made during our time to rest was, we moved.That was a big job! We finally settled in a great area for my husbands company and just leased a simple home to rest in.  We also went on strict diets and our expectations were frustrated at times. I suggest again during a true sabbatical do not make any major life changes. 


New York trip.



Brooklyn Tab

Lots of family time.

Concerts




We took an almost two weeks to our favorite part of the US. Fairhope, AL. (Gulfshores, Orange Beach, Seaside, Watercolor)






Church of his Presence 



Anthony flew to Phoenix as part of his sabbatical. He took his quiet rest, golfing, and having spiritual focus time.