Friday, March 27, 2009

What I'm hoping to do with my Sabbatical

On Monday I start a Sabbatical that I've graciously been granted after six years of serving with UCCF as CU Staff for Reading & Guildford and Team Leader for the South West. The plan is 12 weeks of refreshing and not very intensive study leave and 4 weeks of holiday between now and July 20th. I thought I'd let you know some of what I'll be looking at. This may or may not have an effect on my blogging here!
  • Mondays are for love the church - I plan to write up much of my thinking on the beauty and glory of the church. Not sure if there is a book length of material in my head but we'll see what comes out. Target about 40k words. The prospect of this is invigorating.
  • Tuesdays are for the evangelistic use of Ecclesiastes, what's the book about and how might we use it evangelistically among students?
  • Wednesdays are for the evangelistic use of Genesis, key themes and how it might be used in evangelism among students, particularly how might we present the Biblical foundations of reality in Genesis 1-2, which shape our sense of the purpose of life, what it means to be human etc.
  • Thursdays are for Matt Herring. Not a study project but the on going supervision of a Relay worker, always energising and a great context for working out gospel living. I'm hoping for a hot summer so we can spend a lot of these Thursdays on the beach. Outcome - gospel and suntan.
  • Fridays are for learning to cook something new each week, and pondering an evangelistic theology of food!
Which is a plan intended to give me some structure, but we'll see how it goes. In some ways it looks like an ambitious plan but I'm pretty relaxed about the outcomes and just looking forward to letting the creative juices flow as I put down all my normal responsibilities and remember that this work can carry on without me. I'm also looking forward to running, cycling and *lots* of time with my wife and son. In my diary I also have some non-work preaching at Frontiers Church Exeter and for dear friends at Reading Family Church and Arborfield Church, plus a couple of lectures for the Penninsula Gospel Partnership - which should stop me going completely stir-crazy in my study!


  1. Lemme encourage you with the evangelistic use of Ecclesiastes. I love it, it is a powerhouse of sophisticated reasoning for every condition of man. I have made three messages so far, with more cooking in the pot.

  2. Thanks, I've loved Mark Driscoll and Matt Chandler on it and had a great time preaching Ecclesiastes 1 a couple of years ago (mp3) - I find the book resonates so much with me.

  3. Sounds like a wonderful mix - I'm particularly excited to hear your thoughts on Ecclesiastes as it's come up a bit in my thinking recently, and in a conversation with a non-Christian friend of a friend too!

    I'll have to get hold of Driscoll and Chandler on it too.

  4. Have a great time. Sounds really good. But do make sure you do have proper rest too! Sabbath = rest. Not just for a different kind of work. Should be able to do a lot of those things in restful way though... Enjoy the family especially!

  5. Rest is very much on the agenda! I want to do some study three days a week but we're really not talking 9-5pm!

  6. That all sounds great fun! Lord bless you in all that, Bish!