Thursday, November 04, 2010
Keeping the Sabbath
Vineyard USA puts out a magazine on church planting called Cutting Edge that I haven't come across before - it's available online. In volume 14 no 3 (which is undated but by the looks of some of the content came out some time before October this year) the focus is on being bi-vocational, that is, having a job that keeps the food on the table at the same time as you're trying to establish a church.
This may not be something many NZ pastors experience (but I could well be wrong) but the articles on this topic are very interesting. However there's another focus in these articles, particularly the first two, and that's the point that in order to survive two jobs you actually need to keep taking Sabbath rests.
Peter Scazzaro (author of The Emotionally Healthy Church) discusses emotional health and bi-vocationalism, and has important things to say about giving priority to cultivating your relationship with Jesus, placing your wife and family before the church, and keeping your own emotional health healthy by having times of rest and change. He warns people that to practice bi-vocationalism any other way is cultivating peril. He also has some interesting things to say about the idolatry of 'success' that can arise in church planting.
There's also an interview with Marva Dawn, who's been a great promoter of Sabbath rest for many years. She says: Pastors often say to me, “I can’t keep the Sabbath; I’m much too busy.” And I respond, “Then you’ll really want to keep the Sabbath, because you’re much too busy.” Sabbath is a great cure for busyness. To take that day enables us to reorient all of our time. Furthermore, in practicing Sabbath, we rethink how we spend our time so that we use it the best and most wisely.
She notes how when she was doing her PhD she was expected to read 350 books in seven months, and discovered that it was still healthier to take a Sabbath than try and work through every day of the week in order to keep up.
There are three or four other interviews on church planting from various aspects, all of them equally worth reading.