There have been times when I have wanted to run away. More specifically, I have wanted to run away from my job. And during those dark days, when I could see nothing but gloom and struggle, I wrote the novel to go along with the desire.
Many pastors, and others in compassion related work, have shared with me their desires to run, or the results of when they finally did. Most left their "jobs," but several, left their spouse as well. This is a story line in my book, The Runaway Pastor.
Many pastors who have "run" tell me later, that if they could only have had some time--the chance to step away and breath and feel, they believe they would have stayed in their ministry. And for some of them, they feel they might still be living with their spouse and their children. But the opportunity was not available. With most of them, there is substantial melancholy about their new life direction. "Life is easier," they say "I don't think I would have lasted much longer...but sometimes I wonder about what might have been had I been able to step away for a while, with the hopes of staying in." By the end of their speaking, their eyes are gazing far away, to some world that never was.
I am writing to share good news. Thanks to the kindness of the gracious congregation I pastor, and to a Clergy Renewal Grant from the Lilly Endowment, I have been given the opportunity to step away. Beginning this Sunday, and extending through mid December, I will be relieved of my duties, and I have been provided with means to attend a conference, take time away alone, then time with my family, and finally time away with my wife.
While I have not been The Runaway Pastor in reality, I now am afforded the opportunity to be the step away pastor.
Besides a sermon in Kiev, Ukraine, loving people wherever I am, and learning and networking for all I'm worth at a conference; I am not going to put many expectations on myself while I am away. But I will write. What I will write, I don't know. But if you are interested in following along--should I make it worthwhile--you will be able to track me at my new blog, Step Away Pastor. The actual address/URL is http://www.stepawaypastor.blogspot.com .
I'd love for you to sign on as a follower and sign-up for RS feeds. It would also be cool if you tweet or facebook, to pass these along when you read. I'm probably finished blogging on The Runaway Pastor for a while. Now, I'm being obedient to a call to be the step away pastor.