M-Note 4.28.2022

Rest & Renewal

by Matt Miofsky

A few years ago, I preached a sermon series called Rest. It was all about the importance of the Sabbath – God’s command to rest as a way of staying healthy for the lives that God calls us to live. Recently, I was reminded of that series, especially as I talk to so many colleagues and friends who are burning out in ministry (and other work). After doing some more learning and listening, one of the greatest contributing factors to burnout is a failure to rest and take a sabbath from work.
In the United Methodist Church, pastors are encouraged to take an extended renewal leave every 6 years serving at a church. In my 20 years of ministry, I have never taken a dedicated renewal leave. I am eager to share that The Gathering’s Executive Leadership Team has supported and encouraged me to take a 12-week renewal leave this summer, beginning May 16. I wanted to share this news with all of you and share why I think it is good for me and our church.
I love The Gathering, and I love my work here. I started this church 16 years ago. My intention is to be your pastor for at least another 16! I am grateful that after two decades of ministry I do not feel burned out, and I’m still passionate about the work I do. I am not taking a renewal leave because I am burned out. I am taking it because I want to ensure that I don’t. I want to be proactive about staying creative, healthy and energized in leading our church in the future.
As we emerge from the pandemic, The Gathering’s board and I believe this is the best time for a leave. We are beginning a new season in our church, and God is going to do incredible things over the next few years. This leave will be part of my commitment to leading us well into that future. We have a strong staff and gifted site pastors that will preach, lead worship, provide pastoral care, and ensure that ministry runs smoothly this summer.
A few folks have asked me how I will use this renewal leave. I intend to focus on three things – rest with my family, personal growth in areas that will help me be a better leader, and activities that allow God to renew my spirit and kindle my creativity. I will spend some of this time out of town and most of it here in St. Louis. I will return from leave on August 15, and you will get to hear all about the time away then! Until then, I will be preaching the next three weeks of our current series No Filter.
I would love your support and prayers as I prepare for this renewal leave. If you have any questions, please email me at the link below. I’ll be communicating more about the leave in the next few weeks. I want to publicly thank The Gathering’s board for allowing this time away, and I want to thank all of you. The Gathering has been the most supportive congregation a pastor could hope for. I am excited about this leave because I am excited to continue to lead our church for a long time to come.
P.S. Last weekend, I kicked off a new series No Filter: See the Real You. I talked about the way God redeems us, including the past trauma that many of us have experienced. Past hurt can bring feelings of anxiety, anger, helplessness, guilt, or isolation. But, you don’t have to struggle alone. We are beginning a new group called Grace Place for people who feel burdened by past trauma and hurt. Grace Place is a safe space to connect with others and receive support. Beginning May 17, Grace Place will meet weekly on Tuesday nights at our Clayton Site. You can find more information and register for Grace Place at the link below.
No Filter: See The Real You

Figuring out who you are is hard. We live in a world where others are constantly labeling us. Our identity is defined by our work, our roles in life, what others tell us about ourselves, and even what we think to ourselves when we look in the mirror. Often, this leads to a distorted self-image. But God has some things to say about who YOU REALLY are, and we think you’ll love what you see.
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