I don't know how to start this post, except to say that I am about to head out on a two-month sabbatical. Yay!
A sabbatical is a season of rest and leave from your regular work. People in the educational world often receive them, and sometimes pastors receive them. Some pastors get them because an emergency has erupted in their lives, or they are burning out, but some receive them for maintenance at regular intervals. Mine has been graciously given to me for maintenance and also as a reward for 20 years of service to Calvary Monterey, 11 of those years as senior pastor. So, for a couple of months this summer, I will be out, resting.
Some of My Hopes
I have tried not to put too many hopes on this time away from my regular pastoral duties, but I do have a few. First, I anticipate a time of personal refreshment for the pastoral call God has on my life. I have sensed my mind fatiguing in recent years, so I am looking forward to a time of refreshment from the mental strain of sermon preparation and writing. Additionally, the soul-strain of longing for victory in others is often wearisome, so a time out will be refreshing. Finally, the need for leadership in a local church is non-stop, so I am glad to have a little time to get away to hear my Chief Shepherd afresh. I look forward to getting recharged mentally and spiritually for these battles.
Additionally, I am also greatly looking forward to a lengthened time of connection with my wife and children. For my daughters, in particular, life has become more fast-paced than ever. So I am glad we can get some time to stop all the other activities of living to be with one another. And, since they are getting closer by the minute to their college and adult years, I rejoice we can get some time to reinforce the foundations of our relationship together in Christ so that we can enter into those years together. With strength. Christina and I will also get some time with just the two of us. We plan to head to England for a month of exploration as a family, then spend a little time as a married couple in Tahoe, finally to rejoin with the girls for a final stretch also in Tahoe.
Lastly, I am excited about what this sabbatical will do for our church family. I know we will all see God's faithfulness. I pray it is a time to reset our eyes exclusively on him. I am also praying for fresh inspiration, which is not to say I feel uninspired. God's word and gospel give me so much joy. I have decades to say. And God keeps granting me (and many others) vision for what he might do in the Monterey Peninsula. Christina and I, knowing we belong to God and must heed his call on our lives, both sense God has us in Monterey for many more years. And to make it long-term, we believe a little time away from the responsibility will help refresh us for the work. Perhaps there are some things God could not say to me while in the trenches, but could on furlough. We'll see.
My Writing Plan
I have already shared with Calvary the Sunday and midweek teaching plan for the summer (thank you Andy Deane, Bill Buffington, David Guzik, Riley Manzo, Geoff Buck, and Matt Kehler). But I also wanted to write to you regarding my summer writing schedule. Put succinctly, my writing and posting schedule will remain the same as always. Though no sermon notes will be posted on Sundays, I will still post 3-4 times each week. Two posts will be fresh articles. One will be a repost from the archives. And one, for much of the summer, will be the Jesus Famous podcast episode with Riley Manzo and myself. All of these articles and podcasts are already produced and scheduled. I won't be working on them in any way while away, nor will I be the one to double-check they've gone up. Others -- I am so thankful for them -- will handle everything.
So the regular weekly schedule will look like this:
- Mondays: Repost
- Tuesdays: New Article
- Wednesdays: Jesus Famous podcast
- Thursdays: New Article
Of course, if you are an email subscriber, you'll receive these posts the following morning at 6 a.m.
My Commitment and Thanks
For my part, I have committed not to work at all during this time away. I won't be surprised if, someday, I take a sabbatical where I write a book or do research, but not this time. If I write anything, it will be fiction or my own devotional thoughts. Even my reading will be confined to Scripture, spiritually edifying books, or fiction. In recent years I have spent a decent amount of vacation time reading books designed to sharpen my pastoral calling. But I am not going to read books geared explicitly towards leadership and pastoral work during this time away. I want my heart to be a blank canvas on which God can paint, a blank page on which he can write.
I am incredibly thankful to Calvary Monterey and the Lord for this time away. It is a little frightening for me, but I trust him and know he has a plan. He is going to recharge and refresh and encourage. I have said this before, but I want my 40s and 50s to be more fruitful than my 20s and 30s. I am confident this will happen, but I believe this sabbatical time will strengthen me for that work. Thank you for your prayers and support during this time. I will see you in August!
Holdridge Family Prayer Requests
- Safety in travel.
- Great refreshment.
- Connection to one another and the Lord.
- Vision for the next season of all our lives.
- Further strengthening of our marriage.
- For Calvary Monterey to experience an outpouring of grace this summer.
- That we wouldn't miss our dog Max too badly!