Update on Brad’s Sabbatical
The following is a letter Brad shared with the church on Sunday:
It is very good to see you this morning! Back at the end of June I mentioned I was taking a brief summer sabbatical for a time to decompress, rest, and renew. I’m here today to give you an update and some specifics about why I needed time away and how I’m doing.
We planted this church a little over 16 years ago with a small core-group. Obviously in planting a church I was involved in virtually every decision and facet of the church.
But, over the years as the church has grown, I have not done a good job of transitioning how I interact with the church as a lead pastor. Although the Lord has assembled an excellent staff, fellow pastors and elders, I still—at least internally and emotionally—have subtly and persistently held on to too much of the load of leading the church.
Now, please hear me correctly. This is not a subtle attempt to pat myself on the back. No, what I’m describing is not a virtue. It is sin—the sin of self-centeredness and self-reliance. At the core it is narcissism. It is pride.
And here’s the painful hypocrisy for me—I have preached the opposite to you for 16 years. I’ve preached that we are to trust the Lord. That he is sovereign. That we can rest in his goodness and care for us. And yet, through the years, I have often led the church like it all depends on me. I’m sorry for this and I repent of it to the Lord and to you.
One consequence of this is that I have sunk into a discouragement that has been hard to shake. For that reason, back at the beginning of the summer the elders and I both agreed that it would be good for me to take some time off this summer to decompress and renew.
If you would have asked me a month and a half ago, I probably would have pointed to something external—a tough year leading through a pandemic—as the primary reasons for how I was feeling. But the problem is rarely out there, it’s almost always in here, inside of us. And such is the case with me. Yes, external circumstances contribute to things, but this discouragement has been brewing in me for some time and I realize that it primarily stems from my self-reliance.
So, what now? Well, this past month has been a time of coming to grips with this and assessing my heart. My temptation, after realizing this, is to jump back in and get to work, to re-grab the steering wheel, so to speak, and start grinding again.
But, through the loving counsel of my fellow elders and a trusted pastoral friend outside of the church, we think it wise that I spend a little bit more time—a few more weeks, likely through August—practicing and learning to trust more deeply in God’s good grace and care for myself and the church.
CrossPointe, I love you. I want to be able to serve you well. I look forward to sitting under the Word with you this morning and in the coming weeks and being back in the pulpit soon.
Martin Luther, the great Reformer said, “It is not we who can sustain the Church, nor was it our forefathers, nor will it be our descendants. It was and is and will be the One who says: ‘I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.’”
Jesus promised his disciples in Matthew 16:18, “I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” The Apostle Paul said in Philippians 1:6, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
I believe this and look forward to seeing you soon.