Hey Bloom Family –
About this time four years ago, my family and I were on the verge of making one of the biggest and (in retrospect) best decisions of our lives–uprooting our life in Tulsa and making the journey out West, to Denver, to help bring this fledgling little sprig of a gathering of friends, Bloom Church, to full blossom (see what I did there? 😉 ). We had no idea what God had in store for us: the friends we’d meet, the things we’d do together, the challenges we’d face, the ups and the downs, the highs and the lows, the joys and the pains, and the immense growth that we’d personally experience through it. It has been a marvelous four years participating in the ongoing miracle that is Bloom, watching a lovely congregation rise out of the dust before our very eyes.
One thing that I have learned over the course of our time here is that no one can adequately prepare you for how much planting a church and seeing it through the first few years and stages of growth will demand of you. It is not at all dissimilar to the first few years of raising a child (we know a little bit about this): the role is all-consuming, and you often find yourself “running on E”. Yet that is what MUST be done to bring the little creatures to maturity.
Earlier this year, for the first time in my life, the demanding nature of the last four years finally caught up with me, and I tasted what is commonly called “burnout.” I felt like I had hit the wall in every way: physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally. Through the wise counsel of close friends and counselors (in particular my wife, Mandi, and my good friend Michael, along with a handful of others) I’ve made some adjustments in both my personal and public life that have helped immensely. Since doing so, I’ve felt a great freshness in my soul. But there is more freshness to be had…
Which brings us to this moment. The biggest part of the demanding nature of planting a church is how much preaching is required. Since taking the reins of Bloom, I haven’t had more than two consecutive weeks off of speaking. (That’s a lot of speaking.) And so, again, at the behest of those closest to me, I’m doing something I’ve been talking about for a long time–I’m taking a chunk of the summer off of preaching.
Last night was the last message I’ll give till July. Something of a mini-sabbatical here. Over the next six weeks or so, I’ll still be “at the wheel”, as they say–keeping regular office hours, coming to our gatherings, and so on. Just no preaching. Which will be nice. It will give me a chance to:
- Come and see and enjoy our gatherings like a “normal” Bloom participant
- Catch up on some reading I’ve been meaning to do
- Get traction on some Bloom projects I’ve been wanting to get traction on
- Pray and reflect a little extra on what the future looks like for me personally and for us as a community
And of course travel a bit (we’ll be up in Wisconsin for a couple weeks at the end of June).
Once I’m back in the “pulpit”, we’ll dive into a month-long series on Prayer (based on the Lord’s Prayer) which we’ll be doing with several other churches in the Denver area.
So would you do me a favor, Bloom? Would you keep me and my family in your prayers over the next six weeks? Pray for freshness in every way… fresh experiences, fresh knowledge of God, fresh energy for ministry, fresh vision for the future. It would mean the world to us.
And in the meantime–join one of our summer affinity groups, help out “around the house” (of Bloom) as much as you can, keep pouring your heart into this family. We all rise when you do.
Love you. Serving you is one of the great joys of my life.
Grace and peace,