Pastor Matt's Upcoming Four-Week Leave · Heritage UMC

Pastor Matt’s Upcoming Four-Week Leave

Saturday, August 22 2020 by Matt Horan

I just finished reading a book called “Didn’t See it Coming,” by Carey Nieuwhof.  It’s about his experience of a total burnout while serving as a pastor several years ago. Unfortunately, some of the warning signs he describes include several that I can identify in my own experience recently!

The United Methodist Book of Discipline makes available a couple different opportunities for pastors to take a leave for renewal and continuing education, including “Professional Formation Leave,” available to clergy in full-time appointment one week per year and four weeks once every four years. (Book of Discipline ¶350.2)  So, for the first time in my 13 years, put in a request with SPR to take the once-every-four-years professional formation leave, and they have approved.  (My self-care skills obviously are a work in progress.)  I’m told by people who know better than me that the four weeks in a row is because once you get into the habit of carrying the weight of responsibility for the condition of the souls of a large group of people for several years, it takes weeks to actually put it down so that you can shift your focus to your own soul and your own rest.  I look forward to bringing you a report of how it works in four weeks!

During this leave I plan to go up to the FLUMC Life Enrichment Center (the grown-up side of the Warren Willis Camp) for some time to pray, journal, take walks, and read in my hammock; drive around Central Florida and visit some mentors; and I’m actually writing two books at once, and so I thought I’d try to finish those and get them ready for the proofreading phase. I may also take some naps.😴

My reading list is Pastor as Public Theologian, by Kevin Vanhoozer, Zealotby Reza Aslan, and if I finish those I want to start April 1865: The Month that Saved America, by Jay Winik.  (Jim Workman loaned it to me about a year ago, and I probably need to get it back to him at some point!)  My audiobook in the car will be How to Be an Anti-Racist, by Ibram Kendi.

I will participate in Administrative Council on Monday night, lead staff chapel/staff meeting on Tuesday, August 25th, and then begin the leave at that time. Preachers during this time will be Mt. Olive AME’s Rev. James Williams on August 30, District Superintendent Rev. Dr. Candace Lewis on September 6, your very own Children’s Discipleship Director Janean Briseno on September 13th, and your very own Director of Youth Discipleship Peggy Ingram on September 20th. I’m so excited for two amazing leaders who are people of color, as well as three amazing women in leadership to bring the Scriptures to life at Heritage in the coming weeks!

I’ll be back for Worship Tailgate Party Night on September 26th, which is gonna be awesome!

Matt Horan
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Heritage is a United Methodist Church in Clearwater, FL with the goal of loving those around us, equipping leaders with roles that require their unique abilities, and inviting everyone into a life changing relationship with Jesus.

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