Yep. I've heard that question more than once. It's a good question. Still, I smile when I hear it, and I realize that often, those who call CCC their church home are not sure what else the senior pastor does...besides Sunday morning teaching.
So if you're asking, or know someone who is, thanks for asking, and here's what you might like to know.
First, time away from Sunday morning teaching allows for some longer term planning time. I pray and try to think ahead with the Spirit at least 6 months, or more, on what should be taught on Sunday mornings. "Preaching Planning" usually results in a "series" of messages with a central theme.
For example, our plan for April-June will be a teaching series entitled GOT PROOF? Answering 9 Tough Questions for Christianity. How can a loving God send anyone to hell? Is the Bible fair to women? God, can you prove that You exist? We'll be taking up tough questions in the Spring, to prepare us for sharing Christ, and our students as they head off to university in the Fall 2018.
Our June-August teaching series will be a summer refresher on prayer: YOU PRAYING? WHAT FOR? As a church ministry and team, we simply must remain...and grow in...being a company of eager, fervent prayers and intercessors.
Second, this time away from pulpit preparation provides time for thinking through and discussing our important CCC Staff Restructuring. We have a terrific staff team, but we need to re-configure how we are working together to help our congregation achieve the mission God has given us. Mark Henderson and I, along with other key CCC leaders and staff, are working our way a new team formation. It should be exciting and life-giving.
Third, this time away from preaching allows for some important 2018-2019 Budget Planning. Our new ministry year begins on June 1, 2018, and our congregation will be considering the approval of a $2,000,000+ budget at our congregational meeting in May. We are seeking to make sure that the resources God is giving to us -- THROUGH YOU -- are well targeted and well-spent.
Fourth, this time out of the Sunday pulpit has allowed for some timely Easter worship planning - for our "Shame and Joy" celebration of Easter. We will be offering a special dramatic presentation on March 30.
Finally, along with a bit of vacation time and conference attending, this time away from preaching is giving some margin to personally connect with our CCC constituency. I simply do not want to lose touch with individuals in this wonderful congregation. I love personal one-on-one time with you, and trust that the future will permit more of this. I'm also catching up on some fascinating reading in American History (James Madison bio, by Lynn Cheney), Organizational management (Traction), and Biblical theology (St. Paul's Theology of Preaching).
Thank you for praying for the Christ Community Church mission, family, and staff. And...for allowing me this time away.
You all are the best!