GIPE Family Sabbatical Update


The Gipes will be on sabbatical the months of March and April. Plans are coming together for their time “away”. They will officially be on sabbatical from all day-to-day ministry responsibilities from March 3 to April 26. They plan to spend some time in Florida (their happy place) and perhaps California to be with family, rest, recalibrate, and then re-enter ministry with a renewed energy in May. Keep watch here for more thoughts from Marshall and Becky on what they plan to do, how they plan to intentionally “unwind” and how the Lord is leading them to search their souls in an intentional way during the 8 weeks.

Gipe Sabbatical, from Grace’s Perspective

While Marshall has posted some thoughts about his sabbatical, <click here to see them> as well as some of their plans, goals and details, we thought it would be a good idea to also share a little about how the sabbatical might effect Grace and what our goals might be as we experience it.

With only two guys on staff, can we afford to have someone go on sabbatical? How are we going to make sure things are covered while one of our pastors is away?

• Pulpit help. The elders have reached out to Chris Cobb (one of the pastors at Bible Fellowship) and asked him to come preach a couple of sermons during Marshall’s sabbatical. At the same time, both Jason Kerns and Michael Coate plan to preach a sermon while Marshall is on sabbatical. This means that Danny’s “preaching load” will be reduced some while Marshall is away, freeing him up to focus on some of the administrative details Marshall normally tackles.
• “Lori help.” We are thrilled with the way that Lori Palmer has stepped in and helped make the office flow. Upon returning this week from “fun in the sun (with Mickey),” the plan is for Lori to shadow Marshall in February and learn many of the day to day details that Marshall has had on his plate. This is even with the view that when Marshall returns, some of those things may continue to be tackled by Lori, allowing Marshall’s attention to go toward other ministry needs.
• Akers Arrival. As announced <link provided> it is our hope that Ben and Amanda will be arriving here at Grace in April. The sabbatical provides the perfect time for him to arrive, start getting to know people and feel his way around a bit, before the office kicks back into full motion.

Looks like the Gipes are in town for some of the sabbatical. What do we do if we see them?

• Avoid Eye Contact. (Just kidding.) The Gipes are not taking a sabbatical from being our friends or family, just simply a sabbatical from the role of shepherding. So, catch up about their trips, about the kids and go ahead and make fun of Marshall a little (he likes it). Just try to avoid talking about “church issues” or trying to pry administrative details from him. (Call the office to ask for a phone number of someone in the church, rather than bumming the number of of him, for instance.)
• Will they be attending Grace during their sabbatical? Probably not. But that’s no offense to Grace, nor should it be read into. Actually, their traveling schedule has them out of town every weekend except (maybe) three. Therefore, they usually won’t be in the area on a Sunday, and when they are, they are going to take advantage of visiting a couple churches in the area that friends attend, yet they never get to fellowship with.

How can we pray during the Sabbatical?
• Safety and health for the Gipes during this time.
• Pray that the Gipes experience rest, renewal and even repentance where necessary.
• Pray for Jim Cofield (CrossPoint Ministries) as he leads Marshall and Becky through their sabbatical.
• Pray for the elders and staff as their load increases, and for those who also help out in unique
• Pray that Marshall would be encouraged both by his “replace-ability” (the Lord builds His church, not Marshall) as a pastor at Grace, but also would rejoice in his unique calling there.
• Pray that Grace would see in fresh ways how the church is more than any one person’s ministry, yet also rejoice in the unique role He has given each of us at Grace.
• To that end, pray that the mission of Grace would continue to move forward even as we experience a unique season.

Anything else you can do?

  • Probably, but we’re not thinking of it right now. Feel free to ask questions, look around, see what we’re missing and help us clarify anything that doesn’t make sense
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