A Letter to the Body of Grace.

During our Vision Night, we expressed that one area the elders would like to focus on is Biblical rest. One specific application was offering the Bradshaw family an 8-week sabbatical. (If you missed our Vision Night, or would like to review, you can find it here.) As we quickly approach the start of their sabbatical, we want to remind/re-announce it to you, answer questions, and let you know how you can be involved.

The Bradshaws’ sabbatical will run from June 15 – August 9.

The concept of a Sabbatical goes all the way back to Genesis 2 when God introduced our need for rest. From there, God instituted that Israel was to celebrate a Sabbath every week (for example Exodus 31). Even the land was given a sabbath from being worked every seven years (Leviticus 25). All of these things were intended to draw our attention toward Christ and teach our souls to rest in Him (Hebrews 4). Though a sabbatical in ministry is not something required by the Scriptures, it is these principles of rest that have led our elder team to plan this period of rest for Jason & Jodi and their family.

Because our church has never experienced a sabbatical before, we have sought much advice on this. We have had conversations with other churches and with Sojourn Network leaders; and have consulted with Jim Cofield at CrossPoint Ministries; he will be guiding us through the sabbath process.

The goal of the sabbatical is three-fold. Retreat. Recalibration. Re-entry. We are seeking to design this sabbatical in a way that allows Jason and Jodi to have space from everyday ministry demands. During this time of space and rest, they will actively be assessing their own hearts in a way that is difficult while regularly trying to minister to the souls of others. Though it is only for eight weeks, we also know the Bradshaws and Greenville Grace will be changed through this experience in a way that will shape ministry for years to come. CrossPoint helps take advantage of the experience to discuss how someone “re-enters” after the sabbatical in ways that forever shape their ministry practice.

Because this is new for our church, here are some basic elements we think you should know:

  • Bradshaws’ sabbatical will be from June 15 – August 9.
  • Because this is a time to retreat, the Bradshaws will largely be inaccessible to our church. (This is going to take discipline–like shutting off cell phones for them, and refusing to call them for us–because we love one another and not communicating will feel weird.
  • Jason’s Sunday morning responsibilities will be largely carried by Cameron Bass. Cameron has served as an intern at Grace since August. We’re thankful for Cameron’s servant heart and have even seen how this sabbatical on the horizon has helped shape the goals of his internship.
  • Jason’s other responsibilities are being covered by other elders/pastors during the sabbatical.

This sabbatical will change all of us. We are also providing ways for the body to benefit and help support this sabbatical.

Obviously, if you have other questions, please talk to an elder. We had lots of questions too, and have heard some questions since Vision Night. To try to help serve you, we’ve also provided a Q&A post to address some commonly asked questions. (link again, once posted). We believe our desire to honor the Bradshaws with a sabbatical is a sign of our church’s spiritual growth and understanding that our rest is a beautiful reminder of our need to find our soul’s peace in Christ.

With Much Love and Appreciation,

Your Elder Team. [Danny Wright, Brian Reifsnider, Monty Stump, Jason Bradshaw, Marshall Gipe, Chris Harshbarger, Shaun King, Michael Coate]

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