November 12, 2015
Dear Lakeview Congregation.
I cannot thank you enough for the grace for the recent sabbatical that you granted to me. As was shared by the elders in the August 10th Sunday service, I had arrived at a place in my life where I was gripped by depression and burnout. I so much wanted to continue on as Lakeview’s senior pastor, but months of prayer and seeking a solution had not healed me. By God’s grace and your generosity, I return from the past three months refreshed, restored, and ready again to fully take on the tasks of being your pastor.
It was my prayer that my experience would change me, not a little, but a lot. That I would emerge from the cave of my depression as St. Francis emerged from a cave he retreated to in order to find intimacy with God and spiritual transformation. G. K. Chesterton wrote of St. Francis’ experience:
The man who went into the cave was not the man who came out again; in that sense he was almost as different as if he were dead, as if he were a ghost or a blessed spirit. And the effects of this on his attitude towards the actual world were really as extravagant as any parallel can make them. He looked at the world as differently from other men as if he had come out of that dark hole walking on his hands.
I can say that the past three months have indeed caused me to look at the world upside-down from the man who walked into it. I recently re-read some of my journaling from before the sabbatical and I hardly recognize the man from those pre-sabbatical journal entries.
Besides the refreshment and restoration, God has also given me great insight into who I am as a person and a pastor. He has shown me why I make some of the choices I make and how some of those choices can be hurtful to myself, to others, to my work as a pastor, and often to the direction that He desires His church to go.
I will be sharing some of these insights with you through the messages during these first weeks of being back as your pastor. And, I am filled with excitement and expectation that God will continue to direct and change my life, and that many of the insights He has given me will also impact you as well.
God is doing great things. I look forward to joining hands with you and following His lead as He continues to direct us into ministry that will not only continue to change our lives but also the community that surrounds us.
If you want more information about Pastor Todd’s recent sabbatical you can follow this link.