Dear Extended Oasis Family and Friends,
I want to spend my weekly Pastor’s Email sharing in a different way than normal. I want to give an update on my Summer Sabbatical. For many in our church, you have experienced this, but for others who are new, you might think it strange for a Pastor to be gone all summer. Sadly, it is ‘unique’ for a church to give a Pastor a sabbatical.
Let me give a little background on the ‘why’ of a sabbatical. For those in the education field, healthcare and hospitality professions its not that uncommon in some way or another to have sabbaticals for those serving long term in their roles. Sabbaticals are very biblical and can have a duration of only one day to an extended period of time. God even implores us all to take a sabbatical once a week on the sabbath; the 7th day. Unfortunately, a lot of the burn out, moral scandals and other issues in the church stem from a Pastor and church that do not make the investment in a sabbatical. Most every major local church in our area has had Pastors with moral failings in the last 20 years. That is a sad commentary. Most Pastors stay at a church for less than 5 years. Just this past Sunday a mega church Pastor was removed from his position and it made national news because of alcohol abuse. I could go on and on. It’s worth pointing out that while a sabbatical does not guarantee the prevention of any of these failings, it can certainly be a hedge against them. Most long tenured Pastors who serve beyond 5 years, only stay for long periods because of having extended times away.
After much research on the subject, and realizing that many of the Pastoral issues come from never taking a break or even a vacation, our Church Council set up a Sabbatical Policy for our Pastoral/Executive Team in 2006. This was to ensure that we had time to refresh, refuel and renew our emotional and spiritual selfs. This will be my third and many of you have been here through all of them.
I could spend pages on what a sabbatical means and how they are lived out but most of you would be bored. It can be done in many ways. Our Council has put very clear guidelines into writing for myself and other Pastors who stay 5 years and longer and we are required to abide by and follow those guidelines. I believe that having served Oasis for 15 years before my first one, and now celebrating my 25th year this year, these sabbaticals have assured me the opportunity for a longer ministry to you, and for you to have a more healthy leader of our dear Oasis Church family.
Most Pastors do not feel their church can do without them and most churches are too selfish to let their Pastor go away. Both are un-healthy and will lead to burn out and failings in all kinds. I like to tell Pastors, "You will get a sabbatical one way or the other.” Meaning it will either be forced through mental breakdown, physical burn out or you have to leave in order to have a break between churches you serve. I prefer the healthy and biblical way. We are blessed as a church to have a Church Council who saw the value in this back in 2006 and I thank them for loving our church and myself enough to offer this every 5 years.
If a church is healthy, it does not rest on one man even though we want to believe it does. The only person the church should depend on is Jesus. If we are dependent on ONE man, then we are dysfunctional and the church is not being the biblical church.
Our church has a teaching team, an incredible staff and several hundred committed lay leaders who are Oasis Church. Guy Melton or any one Pastor is only one piece. We are all important pieces to the body of Christ we call Oasis. But, no ONE piece is too important that we can’t do without them.
I am proud to Pastor a church that understands this and is healthy enough to allow their Senior Leadership to have extended periods away.
Each time I’ve gone, including this time, there are always those who want to think something is going on behind the scenes or I’m getting ready to leave. Just as at other times, several months ago someone said there was a rumor I was going on sabbatical and not returning. I just laughed out loud! Some always want to think there is more to it. I like to say, as I have for years when I hear rumors that aren’t true, "Time will tell.” If God allows me to, I hope to never Pastor anywhere else but Oasis Church. You are my calling and my love.
Pastor Ricky, our Executive Pastor, has been doing a great job of leading us while I have been on our Bike for Haiti Ride. He will continue to lead our church and staff during the remainder of the summer. You have an awesome staff and I hope you will pray for them and support them in every way while I’m gone. They deserve your total support.
I will be spending a few weeks with my Grandsons on a trip out west that I have been planning for them for several years. I can't wait. After we return, you will not hear from me very often until the end of the summer, and until our 25th Anniversary. Do not worry. In order to receive the maximum benefit of these days away, it’s good to go off the radar for a while. You need a break from me anyway. Our team will be doing my weekly emails and I will do little to no social media posting some weeks but I assure you I am resting, renewing and dreaming about our next 25 years. I have lots of books to read and will be visiting some unique ministries around the country that I will be able to learn from that will enrich our ministry in the years to come.
I love you guys and I’ve missed you since I began our Bike for Haiti Ride. The love and support you have given me during that has been one of the highlights of my life. I can never tell you enough how much it’s blessed me and been appreciated. Please continue to support Bike for Haiti and if you haven’t pledged, please do it right now and right HERE online.
This weekend once again, we are sharing our own Jeremy Higdon who will teach another great Love Cities, Love Pastors message. Then, the next 2 weeks, we have our Partner Pastor from Detroit, Darryl Gaddy sharing with us. Both will be a tremendous blessing.
Haiti Medical Missions Trip is coming up during the Labor Day weekend, September 1st - September 5th. I hope some of you who have never been to Haiti will join myself and other Oasisers for this life transforming trip. You can get more info from our Trip Organizer, Amina Dubbison via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Time is of the essence if you would like to join us so sign up now!
God bless you Oasis. I love you guys, miss you and see you in September. I’ll be praying for you everyday and missing you like crazy.
Founding and Senior Pastor
Oasis Church of South Florida
P.S. Don’t forget that Oasis Church only exists because of your giving to the Lord His tithes and your offerings. The worldwide and local ministries we do are only because of those of you who obediently and faithfully give to the Lord through Oasis Church. You can do it this weekend or like I’m doing today, giving online right HERE.