While I Was Away (Vacation at a Church Plant)

Last Sunday my wife Cheryl and I took our first real vacation (one where you miss a Sunday) since we started Church of the Suncoast in April of last year. AND, while we were away everything went flawless! Here are some thoughts on why:

  • We planned for it well. Our management team and some key volunteers planned out every detail of what I do on a Sunday just out of instinct. First I prepared a document that I called "A Guide to What the Heck Brian Does Each Sunday" that was just a time line of the things I still do on Sundays. Things like getting the trailer, putting out a couple signs early, getting breakfast for the custodian at our school, and so on... We then gave everyone some of those duties. Sounds elementary, but I have been at "established" churches that when the boss goes away everything is kind of up for grabs.
  • We got a speaker that fit our vision and style. A church planting friend of mine in Tampa loaned us his student ministry guy. He is a great communicator and the styles of the two churches are close enough that it was an easy fit to walk into a group of strangers and speak. Our people also didn't have to try to get where he was coming from. It was just a good fit.
  • I stayed away! Even though we got back late Saturday night I did not show up on Sunday. I let the volunteers and staff own the day. It showed them I really do trust them and it proved to them that this thing is not just about me.

Here are some random thoughts on how it felt:

  • Like I was missing out. I really do like our church and its people! I felt like I missed out on a whole week of jokes and laughs.
  • Like no one missed us. That was a strange feeling. Even though I know it is not true you can't help but feel that way I guess.
  • At peace. Surprisingly, I was at peace with the whole thing. Must have been a God thing...
  • Proud. Our church has come from a handful of people that had no idea what we were doing into a small army of trained volunteers who can run a church without a problem.

I didn't take any time off for the first 15 months of our church's life. That is just the way it is when you start from nothing. Now I will start building in some regular times away. You need it and your church needs it. They need to see that they can do it even in a baby church plant.

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