My church history is tainted with church splits and a would-be guru that ran off with a lady who tapped her glossy talons during service, leaving his family behind. It's your basic litany of things not to do when you are God's people, or so it would seem. Add my years as the only woman in a ministry program, amidst a majority that believed women shouldn't even make announcements at church, let alone preach, and it is safe to say I have had an ambivalent relationship with the church. I have behaved like a jilted bride, white-knuckling my way back to Jesus. I don't blame God, so we are clear. I just took the long path back to the chapel.
My skeptical nature was roused last fall, when the elders announced that the pastor, Rick, was going to take a 3-month sabbatical. I secretly hoped that this wasn't some backdoor discipline issue, and then, the leadership addressed just that: that this sabbatical was simply that and Rick and his family needed a breather, time to reflect and relax. The church was solvent; this was our gift to a family that works endlessly for our congregation.
During the sabbatical, several elders spoke and we studied the book of Phillipians. We raised $110,000 during advent, for local and global charities, and heard amazing guest speakers. Imago continued to grow.
The McKinleys returned to us yesterday. I couldn't wait to give Jeanne a hug and say 'hi' to their kids. We had missed them terribly and it was good to have them home. It is also good to know that Imago Dei is not a one-man show.
Well, not a mere man anyway.
You can read about Rick's sabbatical here.