May, 15, 2019
Dear Church Family and Friends,
This past Sunday, I made an announcement that I will be taking a break from all ministry responsibilities during the month of June. I announced that, during the month of June, I will be giving my attention to seeking the Lord with great intentionality. I will be spending a majority of the time in quietness, meditation and prayer as well as writing.
During the month of June, Josh Slabaugh from Sarasota, Florida will be serving as an interim pastoral leader at RCC. He will be serving the body of Christ by leading in pastoral ministry (including preaching, teaching and worship) from June 2nd through June 29th. I will continue to be available by text or email for emergencies only. Josh is a servant leader. He has received ministry training and has completed a ministry internship at House of Prayer in Sarasota, Florida. He is a gifted young man. He is an excellent worship leader with many years of experience leading worship in his home congregation. Josh has also completed training in teaching and preaching under the supervision of Pastor Kenton Slabaugh (his father) at the Restoration Fellowship Church. I am very excited about Josh’s coming and I know that he will be a blessing to all.
Some have asked if I am taking a sabbatical. The answer in short is, no. I must admit that I am hard-pressed to describe what the Lord is calling me to in June. I would like to share the process that led me to this decision. This is my testimony:
For the past 9 months the Lord has moving in my spirit to set myself apart (from ministry) to seek God, to be refreshed (receive ministry,) become balanced, finish my book and gain vision for the coming months. Prior to Jen Miskov ministry here, I was unable to picture or even comprehend how I could take time out of my crazy ministry schedule to do the things that God was calling me to do. When Jen spoke at RCC that Sunday morning, the Lord made it clear to me that he was calling me to take a whole month of June off. At that time I also became aware that I was truly weary. I have been strong in the Lord for ministry. I have not felt discouraged or overworked for the past 18 months of serving as leadership for three ministries, but now I truly am in need of some considerable time to be refreshed, seek the Lord and gain specific vision for the days ahead.
It happened two weeks ago, when I had a powerful encounter with God during my time in the prayer room on a Tuesday morning. During the encounter, the Lord invited to surrender everything…. really everything. I think this makes maybe like the 4th time in my life that God has allowed me to encounter Him like this! This time I felt as though the Lord asked me for full access; permission to “rewire” my affections. It was a powerful landmark event in my life in God. In that encounter I suddenly realized how empty and weak I was and how immensely loving and powerful He is. During this encounter, I really did surrender to Him in a new and deeper way. I promised that I would do exactly what he was directing me to do.
Following that event, for five days, the Spirit of God unfolded some plans for my life very clearly. He laid out a specific strategy for taking a complete break from ministry for the month of June. The Lord also gave me very specific goals for the break. Part of the June break will be rest but a majority of the time will be participating with God’s to allow Him to transform my thinking and my lifestyle: Instead of working 12 & 16 hour days, I will be working 8-10 hour days. Instead of eating poorly an exercising infrequently I will be eating nutritionally and exercising regularly. Instead of working 7 days a week, I will be engaged in work for 6 or perhaps only 5 days a week. Is this what a sabbatical looks like? God knows! Until I had that prayer room encounter, I was wondering if taking a break would be possible -and how in the world I could do it right now. At this point in time, I am aware that I have no choice and that I am very in need of the work of God in my life. I also am very excited and a little scared about this “rewiring” period! I know that some of it will be tough, but I am truly aware that He has great things in store for me. I also believe that I will “emerge” with some good things to share with others!
During June, I believe that God is actually going to grow the body of Christ at RCC. Because of what I have heard the Lord say, I believe that the RCC will actually benefit and grow during the month of June! My presence or absence is not an important factor in the work of God at RCC. Obedience to God is an important factor and God is looking for those who will walk in passionate obedience to the voice of God.
Both Josh and I will be present on Sunday June 2nd. I will be introducing Josh. He will bring the message and we will gather around him to bless him in the pastoral interim calling. I will be gone until Sunday, June 30th. I will not be available by phone – only email or text. I have promised the Lord that I will not minister in person or by phone unless there is an emergency as a part of this process..
Please feel free to respond to this email with any questions that you might have. I really want to share what God is doing in me in the hope that others might be encouraged and grow in faith to follow God as He leads.
During the month of May, we will continue to accept donations to benefit Thrive (formerly the Pregnancy Centers of Virginia.) There is a basket to receive donations near the welcome table in the church auditorium. Items being accepted includes: onesies, baby clothes (through 2T) baby shoes and socks, baby blankets, bibs, burp cloths, Infant toys (rattles, teething rings etc..) Formula, Diapers (to 6 mos) Wipes, Baby wash, shampoo, lotion, diaper cream (no baby oil,) strollers, high chairs, bouncy seats, play mats, swings. All donated items should be new or in near new condition. Gathering these items for the local pregnancy centers is a way that we can continue our outreach to the needy in our community. Ministry to the unwed mothers in our community is a vital ministry need.
See you on Sunday,