This year is my 28th year on staff at CityLife Church and my 18th as Senior Minister. It's been quite a journey and I am thankful for all that God has done during this time and for the support of our congregation and leadership team. 

In discussion with the Elders and our senior staff, there was agreement that I would benefit from taking an extended sabbatical this year. A sabbatical isn't a holiday. It's a time of disengagement from the normal aspects and pressures of ministry life in order to spend time in replenishment, reflection and learning for the next stage of life and ministry. [Click here for more information about the concept of a sabbatical]

I will take a 12-week sabbatical from the beginning of March through to the middle of May (2 weeks of which will be annual leave for some holidays). During this time the church will be well looked after by our local leadership. Our teaching team will be speaking on the weekend, along with some excellent visiting ministry.  

What will I do on my Sabbatical?

The outcomes I desire are a replenishment of my spiritual and emotional world and a sharpening of my vision for the church and my own calling to ministry. The first half of my sabbatical will focus on my personal and spiritual well-being. It will include a combination of prayer, extended times with God, reflection, spiritual retreats, and time with some of my mentors. The second half of my sabbatical will focus on my ministerial development. I will make use of a study plan focused on topics such as Jesus and his mission, the church, leadership, contemporary culture, and preaching, as well as more extended time in prayer and the Scriptures. [Of course, if God wants to have me only do the first half stuff the entire time, then that's fine with me!]

For this to be most effective, I will be fully disengaged from church life (weekend meetings, staff meetings and email). Weekends and evenings will be times for me to sow back into my own family as well as my friendships. I will also take up some more recreational pursuits during these times – things I have little or no time for at the moment with weekends always being so full. 

What about the church? I have full confidence that the church will flourish during this time. In fact, it can be a maturing time for both the congregation and myself.

I would like to thank the Elders and senior staff for their kindness in releasing me for this time. Personally, I am really excited about this time and believe that it will be instrumental in ensuring that I continue to be full of God's vision and passion for our next season together. My desire is to return refreshed and with greater energy, with increased confidence, with deeper reservoirs from which to draw from, as well as an even greater sense of joy and delight in my calling.

8 thoughts on “My Upcoming Sabbatical

  1. Clayton and I are thrilled to read this Mark. We pray that you will have good rest and refreshment and that you will really hear from God. Blessings and love from Angela Coombs.

  2. May this time be one of rest, reflection, rejuvenation, rediscovering yourself, your wife, family and friends in a new and exciting way!
    May it also be one of rediscovering God, the calling He has placed on your life and sensing the new season He has ahead for you, your family, relationships, the church community you have faithfully served and the impact you have had on the wider Kingdom of God…Enjoy this time!
    May the forthcoming seasons and years of your life be some of the best years of your life…

  3. Pastor Conner, thanks so much for writing your book Prison Break! I was the young black guy from Missouri who shook your hand on Sunday after you preached at Life Central, and I purchased a copy of your book after the service (which you kindly signed for me). I started reading it on the way home, and just finished it a few minutes ago. Wow! So much of what you wrote spoke deeply to me, and I’ve already shared some of your lessons with my friends and girlfriend. Enjoy your sabbatical, and I look forward to reading some of your other work!
    –Terence Cole
    P.S. Thanks for putting scripture references where you signed your name. I looked them up before I even got home that afternoon 🙂

  4. Thanks Pastor Conner for detailing out your plans for sabbatical. I believe it’ll be very fruitful and replenishing. We will be with you in prayers. God bless you.

  5. I trust your sabbatical will be a real time of refreshment in body, soul and spirit Mark. Have a wonderful break away from the normal routines.
    We are so blessed as a church to have you and Nicole as our ministers.
    Robyn Simpson
    No need for a response.

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