This past Sunday it was announced that our Pastor Jim will be taking a 14 week Sabbatical starting Monday, May 29 and extending through Labor Day, September 4, 2017. Watch the special announcement below and read the letter from our Life Board to the church.

Letter from Darrell Dunckel , Chairman of the Church Life Board

Dear Open Door Family,

Back in 2013 our Church Life Board (CLB) established a Sabbatical Policy for the pastors of our church. The policy states that for every 7 years of full time service at Open Door, a pastor is encouraged to take a sabbatical of 2-3 months, upon approval of the CLB. During the sabbatical, the pastor is not to be engaged in any regular ministry duties associated with Open Door and is encouraged to focus solely on spiritual rejuvenation, retooling for ministry, and rest. Prior to taking a sabbatical, each pastor is required to submit a written plan to the CLB outlining how they intend to use their sabbatical time.  Why did the CLB make the decision to institute this policy? It was designed to proactively provide for greater effectiveness, health and longevity for the leadership of our church. Open Door’s By Laws state that it is our responsibility to watch over the health of the church as well as its pastors. According to statistics from Barna Research, Focus on the Family, and Fuller Seminary, almost 1500 pastors leave their ministry positions each month. 80% of pastors feel discouraged in their roles. 80% of seminary and Bible school graduates leave the ministry within the first 5 years. 70% of pastors constantly fight depression. Only 1 out of 10 pastors retire as a pastor. Those are sobering statistics. We don’t want any of our pastors to be a part of those stats. Instead we want healthy, effective, Christlike, growing pastors leading our church until Jesus returns. Our Lead Pastor has been serving faithfully here at Open Door double the seven years required to be eligible for a sabbatical: 14 years. As the CLB, we have been encouraging Pastor Jim to take a sabbatical for several years, but he has felt that the timing just wasn’t right. New projects and initiatives were always on the horizon or demanding his attention and focus. We were pleased to approve his recent request and now want to share it with the church.

Pastor Jim will be taking a 14 week sabbatical (1 week for each year he has served Open Door!) starting Monday May 29 and extending through Labor Day September 4, 2017. Pastor Jim has arranged for all of his leadership and preaching responsibilities to be covered through our excellent staff and a guest preacher. (Pastor Ken Roberts, former longtime pastor of Worldview Community Church in No. Olmstead will be preaching June and August and Pastors Brian Pachinger and John Jacobs will preach in July.)   He will be spending his sabbatical at prayer retreats, retooling in some continuing education courses, meeting with a mentor, gearing up to lead our church further into its multi-site future, as well as taking some time to rest and get recharged for our next chapter at Open Door. Andrea will be able to join him for one of the courses and they will take some vacation time during the sabbatical, so they won’t be apart from each other the whole time. We encourage you to pray for them during this time. I have asked Jim how we can best pray for him and this is what he asked:

  1. Pray that his time with God will be replenishing and strengthening. Pray that he becomes a more Christlike husband, father, friend, and pastor. Pray that he grows in loving God, loving people and living surrendered.
  2. Pray that he will come back spiritually revitalized, having received from God fresh insight and vision for the future of our church.
  3. Pray that in his reading, coursework, and educational pursuits he would gain the kind of new tools, information and perspective that will help him lead our church into the future.
  4. Pray for his time with Andrea; that when they are together, they will love each other well and their marriage will honor God. Pray that during the weeks they will be apart God will grow and strengthen them individually.
  5. Pray for Executive Director Alex Marks and our Open Door staff as they lead in his absence. We have an amazing staff team who are clear on our vision, mission and values, which enables them to make wise decisions. Pray that God will grant them even greater wisdom and courage to lead well.
  6. Pray for those who are preaching that God will use them to help us become more like Christ. Pray that we as a church will grow in his absence and take advantage of the summer to have more time to lovingly live out the 5B’s!

We will of course miss Pastor Jim, but this will be good for our church and the increase of ministry in the future. Thank you for being a part of Open Door. It is a great church with a great future!

In Christ,

Darrell Dunckel , Chairman of the Church Life Board