Firstly, and importantly, my sabbatical allowed me the time to slow down to be with God.
Being away from the day-to-day parish ministry enabled me to see how active I had been ‘doing things for God’.
Much of this I hope was good work!
And I like ‘doing’.
But a major thing I heard God say through prayer, scripture and other people, was… “slow down and let me sort out your inner life”.
I suppose I was giving 80% of my time to ‘doing’, and 20% maximum to just ‘being’. I know that I can function like that. I have loads of energy and enthusiasm… but it’s hard to sustain, and it might not bring about lasting fruit.
Time away on retreat and reading books such as the often recommended 'Emotionally Healthy Leader' have helped me see how important it is that my ‘being’ (my inner life) is more important than, and precedes, my ‘doing’ (my outer life).
Earlier this month, several members of our church community attended the New Wine United 2017 conference. For those of you who don't know, New Wine is a movement of churches working together to change the nation through a network of church leaders, summer conferences, training events and resources. Each year, a group of us pitch up their tents alongside thousands of other Christians for a week of worship and spiritual development.
Here, they've captured some of their highlights
of the week: