Many of you may already know that I am beginning a ministry sabbatical next week. That means I will take a break from my online presence, including my social media accounts and blog. So, don’t be surprised if things go quiet from me over the next couple of months. I am doing well and looking forward to the chance to be still before God, to do some study, to have times of refreshment with my family and friends as I gear up for a new season of ministry in the Fall. You can read the entirety of a letter we sent out to the family of Eastbrook Church a couple of weeks ago below.
About three years ago, I was meeting with an older, seasoned pastor and talking about life and ministry. He asked me a number of questions, one being something I had never considered: “have you ever thought about taking a sabbatical?” He pointed out that Eastbrook had, by God’s grace, successfully walked through a major leadership transition that many churches and ministry leaders do not survive. He encouraged me to thoughtfully be aware of that reality and not to wear myself out, but instead to aim for being in ministry for the long haul.
Out of that conversation came a discussion at the Council level related to how we care for our staff, including the idea of a pastoral sabbatical. It was with thoughtful consideration of the topic, that the Council granted me a sabbatical for this coming summer. I am thankful for this gift from the Council that we worked on together, and I believe it will be a good thing for me, my family, my ministry, our staff, and the church.
Let me assure you that there is nothing wrong with me, my marriage, my character, or my relationship with the church. We are doing great and I feel like I am in a strong season of ministry. I also believe that as Eastbrook we are at a key moment to launch into some new ministry endeavors in the Fall, and I think this time of sabbatical will recharge me for that next season of ministry for us together as a church family.
Thank you for your support, for your commitment to Christ, and for your commitment to this special, local body of Christ called Eastbrook. I look forward to sharing stories of how I heard from the Lord when I return after July.
With deep love and prayer,
Pastor Matt Erickson
You can also read a Q & A on my sabbatical here.
Here are the discussion questions that accompany my message, “Lord of the Sabbath,” from this past weekend at Eastbrook Church. This is part of our series, “Crossroads.” The texts for this week are Luke 6:1-11 and 13:10-17.
Discussion Questions:Read More »
This weekend at Eastbrook Church we began a new series, “Crossroads,” which corresponds with our Lenten journey to the Cross. The first message is entitled “Lord of the Sabbath” and looks at three Sabbath stories from Jesus’ ministry in Luke 6:1-11 and 13:10-17. I started with an overview of the significance of the Sabbath followed by an exploration of Jesus’ message and identity as Lord of the Sabbath. I also spent a brief time talking about the Pharisees and hypocrisy.
You can also follow the entire series at our web-site, through the Eastbrook app, or through our audio podcast.
Also, join in with the daily devotional and reading plan for this series here.
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Ten years ago the standard response to the question, “how are you?” was “fine.” That was not a particularly informative answer but it was, well…fine. In today’s American culture, however, the standard response to the question, “how are you” seems to be “busy.”
One social commentator points out that it is not only adults who are busy anymore, but also students and kids who are moving at breakneck pace. We are scheduled down to the slightest half hour, racing around from one activity to another.
In the midst of our fast-paced, packed-out lives, we can often lose time to think, to rest, to play, to be with others, and more.
Of course, that is no less true for leaders in the church. Unfortunately, it is not difficult for me to think about seasons of life as a pastor when I have been rushing from one activity to another as my days, nights, and weekends fill up with endless pastoral needs: sermon preparation, staff meetings, pastoral care visits, weddings, funerals, church council meetings, and more.
In an article entitled “Black Friday and the Importance of Sabbath Rest,” Danielle Tumminio points out that we’ve come a long way from fifty years ago when stores, banks, and businesses were closed on Sundays. She writes:Read More »
Here are the discussion questions that accompany my message, “Set Apart,” from this past weekend at Eastbrook Church, which began our new series on the Ten Commandments entitled “Chiseled.”
- When you hear the phrase “Ten Commandments” what do you think of? Why?
- This weekend at Eastbrook, we continue our series, “Chiseled,” on the Ten Commandments. This week we focus on the 3rd and 4th commandments found in Exodus 20:7-11. Read these verses out loud and then ask God to speak to you through your study of the Scripture.
- In the Ancient Near East – and even today – the name of a person signifies their unique identity. Since this is the case, what is the significance in your mind of “misusing the name of the LORD your God” (Exodus 20:7)?
- While this command may include things we immediately think of, like dropping God’s name in a string of profanity, it also includes using God’s identity for purposes that don’t reflect His ways. How have you seen this happen in others or yourself?Read More »