As I prepared to begin this past winter’s three months of sabbatical leave, the Conference vehicle I’d been driving for the past five years was just about to turn over 200,000 miles. And so was I.
The vehicle had been very well maintained as an asset of the Iowa Conference. It had regular oil changes. It received scheduled major maintenance at the recommended intervals. And, of course, the car was driven by someone who firmly believes that the posted speed limit is the speed limit. No doubt at least a few of you have passed me going 68 on I-80. Oh, who hasn’t passed me going 68 on I-80?
I’m responsible for maintaining the Conference car. It is an asset of the Iowa Conference in my care. I’m also responsible for maintaining the driver. She’s an asset of the Iowa Conference in my care, too. I confess sin to each of you: at nearly 200,000 miles, the car was in better shape than the driver. I was more faithful at oil changes than at protecting two days off each week, one devoted to Sabbath. I was more faithful at scheduled maintenance than I was at making sure I’d practiced vacation for four weeks each year and devoted ten days each year to continuing education. I’m embarrassed. With help from an excellent pastoral counselor, I’ve begun the next five years of ministry with a full buy cheap celebrex no prescription tank of passion and prepared to make sure that the driver is as well-maintained as the vehicle for the next 200,000 miles.
In Christ’s love, my brother and sister pastors, I encourage you to faithfully protect two days off each week, one for Sabbath practice. In Christ’s love, I encourage you to faithfully be on vacation for four weeks each year. In Christ’s love, I encourage you to devote ten days each year to continuing education that re-tools and revitalizes your ministry. In Christ’s love, I encourage you to offer yourselves for the Spirit’s refreshment and re-formation by committing to three months of sabbatical leave after each five years of service in ministry.
Dear members of the congregations of the Iowa Conference, in Christ’s love I encourage you to keep your pastor accountable for the practices of scheduled maintenance. Ask your pastor about Sabbath keeping and honoring days off, about her/his four vacation weeks, about what plans and funding are in place for study leave this year. Ask your pastor and lay leaders what preparations are being made for your pastor’s sabbatical leave. If your congregation needs assistance from a member of the Conference staff in implementing the practices of scheduled maintenance for pastors, please contact us. It’s our honor and delight to support you.
You’ll find scheduled maintenance information in the Iowa Conference Salary Guidelines. Here’s the link: http://www.ucciaconf.org/resources/salary-guidelines-2/salary-guidelines-2014
Jonna Jensen, Associate Conference Minister