I’m still a little jet-lagged, but I’ve been home in the USA for a few days and cannot begin to put the experience of the last few months into words.
On May 1 when I left for what was supposed to be a 2-week trip to Australia I had no idea I would end up staying for three months!. I initially went to speak at the Christian Media Australia Conference, but ended up spending a great deal of my time based in Sydney working alongside the team at Hillsong Church.
If you’ve read my blog or have followed me for any period of time, you know how much I love the work Hillsong is doing. While I was there I was able to be a part of Hillsong Conference helping with social media…was there when they launched their iPhone app… had the great opportunity to guest lecture at Hillsong International Leadership College… and even got to speak in a breakout session at Hillsong Conference! I am humbled by the chance I had to be there and see what they do, up close and personal. It was a remarkable experience and I feel like I learned so much more in my time there than what I was able to give. I love what they are doing and it was great to be small part of it for a season.
During my time away I barely blogged and was fairly disconnected from social media, especially since a majority of the people I follow were awake and tweeting when I was asleep! That, along with the step of faith it took me to stay there for three months, really made me pause and think about my future.
This month I’ll be marking my 12th year serving in full-time ministry. I started at age 18 working for my church as a director of communication and have now logged over a decade of non-stop work in the life of the local church. It has been an incredible experience and as I approach of the age of 30 in November, I’m sensing that it’s time for me to take a break to consider my future and where I feel God is leading me.
Last week I resigned from my role as the co-director of the Center for Church Communication, the parent organization of ChurchMarketingSucks.com, and today am announcing that I’ll be taking a break from blogging regularly at TimSchraeder.com as well as from my active presence on social media.
I’ll still be around and will be tweeting here and there and definitely Instagramming [I’m timschraeder on Instagram!], but I am going to give a majority of my time to working on small projects (some ministry related, some not) and devoting my time and energy into being present in the here and now.
There is potential I may return to Australia in January, but as of right now I am committing that opportunity and my future into the Lord’s hands. I am anxious and excited to see where life will lead me in the coming months as I take a break from being “the church communications guy” and focus on being Tim. Don’t worry, nothing has happened and nothing’s wrong… I have just realized it’s time for me to take a bit of a break to regroup, refocus, and plan for what’s next.
The work we do of serving the Church is very important work, but it’s equally important that we allow time and space for Christ to do the work He needs to do in each of our lives.
One of my favorite passages of the Bible is Matthew 11:28-30 [paraphrased from The Message]:
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
That’s what this sabbatical is all about for me.
To all of you who have followed along… thank you. It’s been an exciting ride, that’s for sure. Keep up the great work and keep pressing on… what you do matters, but remember WHOSE you are matters even more.
I’ll be back soon.