• Why Sabbatical?

    Dear Ekko,

    With Pastor Bryan’s upcoming sabbatical, there are understandably many questions that naturally arise, like: what actually is a sabbatical? And what do pastors do on their sabbaticals? We hope that our series of upcoming articles help inform you, not just for the sake of knowing, but for the sake of praying for our pastors as they go off to rest with God in this next season. Chew slowly and enjoy.

    Ekko Leaders commissioning Pastor Bryan after the announcement about his sabbatical.

    What is a Sabbatical?

    A sabbatical is derived from the word “sabbath,” is a rest from work. In Leviticus 25, God instructs the people of Israel to cease working in the fields on the seventh year, as a way of honoring God, but also as a way of letting themselves (and the land) rest from producing. If they kept producing without any sabbath or rest, eventually the whole system would break down altogether. Typically, pastors are given a sabbatical every seventh year to rest, refresh themselves, and recharge for the upcoming seven years.

    But Ekko is turning 9. Why are we doing the sabbatical now?

    There’s lots of reasons, but the biggest part of it had to do with timing. When Pastor Bryan was first offered his sabbatical in the seventh year of Ekko, the twins had just been born, and he and the leadership felt that it wasn’t yet a good time for him to be gone for a prolonged length of time. But now that his children are older, the church is getting stronger, and lots of leaders rising up, the leadership felt that it would be a good year to for Pastor Bryan to take some time away for rest and recharging.

    What is Pastor Bryan going to be doing on his sabbatical?

    The number one piece of advice that he has received from all of his advisors is to simply “rest.” (One mentor actually told him, “Rest until you’re tired of resting.”) The first three months of his sabbatical will be to just decompress, catch up on sleep, eat healthy, and spend time with his family. And then, from three months in to the end of his nine month sabbatical, he’ll be praying and preparing for what will come when he returns. He’ll engage in things that are life-giving, spending time in nature, praying for Ekko, and dreaming of what God wants to do with him (and Ekko) next. And he’ll be preparing for his doctoral studies with Dr. MaryKate Morse at Portland Seminary, slated to begin in Fall 2018.

    So what’s going to happen while he’s gone?

    Pastor Janette is stepping up as the interim lead pastor and will oversee the pastoral duties that he usually handled. The Preaching Team has also planned out a series for the Gospel of Luke for 2018.

    Apart from that, nothing will really change. We will still have Orthopraxis, Ekklesia, and Advance, as well as the various camps we always have (Women’s Retreat, IKON Retreat, and Orthopraxis Camp). In other words—it’s church as usual, it’s Ekko making space for God to speak and encouraging one another to love one another and the world with faith and joy.

    How can I participate?

    That’s a great question. The best way to participate in PB’s sabbatical is to pray for him. Cover him during this time and allow him the space to rest and grow with God. (By the way, this also means that he won’t be able to respond, read, or reply to any messages or phone calls while he’s away!)

    During his sabbatical, we encourage you to reach out to your Ekklesia leaders, the other pastors, or staff if you need pastoral guidance and wisdom. And help upkeep the church—continue to serve, pray, love, give, and take part in what Jesus is doing every week, collecting stories and testimonies of how God is alive and at work.