24th May 2018
Over the years, I have seen too many pastors go through emotional breakdown. In fact, the pastor of the church where I grew up had two such occasions over the course of his leadership of our 300-member church. The experience of watching this happen made an impact on me, and when I entered full-time ministry myself, I knew I had to prepare to run a marathon, not a sprint.
When a pastor goes through emotional breakdown, recovery can be slow. It brings real challenges, not only for him personally, but also for his family and church. From my earliest days in ministry, I committed to putting certain things in place so that hopefully, I could avoid becoming burnt out. It has been my practice to build in regular periods of rest, relaxation and reflection, by ensuring that the first things to go in my diary are days off, time with Deb, and holidays. In addition to this, our pastoral staff are given a three-month sabbatical every seven years to give them a longer period away from the demands of ministry and allow more time to recharge. As many of you know, my next sabbatical is due and begins tomorrow!
It is actually eight years since my last sabbatical, and a lot has changed in that time. I think I see this most clearly when I compare photos of our boys from 2010, with photos of them today. Back then, Ben, Josh and Sam were aged 18, 15 and 10 and were all still in full-time education. Today, they are 25, 23 and 18; Ben is married, Josh gets married in June and Sam leaves school this summer! As the pictures above show, our family has grown up and expanded!
A lot has changed in the church I lead as well. Since my last sabbatical, King’s has grown by over 600 people. We have also moved from being a church on one site with three meetings, to a multi-site church on three sites with six meetings, and a fourth site being added in October this year. We have been involved in a £6,000,000 building project and Newfrontiers, the family of churches we are part of, has gone through major transition. You could say that King’s, like my family, has also grown up and expanded!
The years since my last sabbatical have been exciting, but they have also been demanding, and I know this is a good time to step back from hands-on ministry and recharge. During my three-month break, members of the King’s team will be posting guest blogs on this page, which I hope you will enjoy.
So, I am now going off-line for three months! I look forward to returning in early September.
Posted by Steve Tibbert
Steve Tibbert leads King’s Church London, with sites in Catford, Downham and Lee. Over the past fifteen years the church has seen continued growth, both in size and diversity. Steve is also involved in Newfrontiers and regularly coaches other lead elders. His book, Good to Grow, was published in July 2011. He is married to Deb, and they have three sons.