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For the Pastor’s Post this week I would like to give you all a brief update on my life.  I’ve been gone for two weeks – but it feels longer than that and I am happy for the opportunity to reconnect! 

First of all, thank you for your prayers for the Ministerial Training Institute of the OPC (MTIOPC) Preaching class. As you know, I co-teach this class with Rev. Doug Clawson, the General Director of Foreign Missions. I have spent a good bit of time the past two months working on lectures, listening to sermons, writing extensive evaluations and corresponding with students. I was impressed with the quality guys we had this year. There are some excellent young preachers out there! The class went well and the men seemed blessed. Thank you for allowing me to participate in the larger ministry of the OPC in this way. It’s an honor and a joy to be able to encourage and help these younger men this way.   

Secondly, in the “What’s New?” department, last night the Session graciously approved a Sabbatical for me sometime later this year. I was scheduled for a Sabbatical in 2023 but Randy’s illness and the trial closed the door on that.  Since then, Joanne and I have spent time in prayer and conversation concerning whether or not I would take a sabbatical at all. I’ve been very ambivalent about it for several reasons:

  • I’m feeling energized in the ministry. The past year was very hard, but the Lord has blessed me with a fresh zeal for Christ and the gospel ministry. I don’t feel tired.  I’m excited about what the Lord is doing at Harvest and am eager to continue working together towards whatever Jesus has in store for us.
  • We are a bit short-staffed already with the loss of Greg Norfleet, and I’m reluctant to burden the other pastors with my absence. 
  • I have resisted the idea of taking a Sabbatical just because it’s my turn. Maybe that’s the rebellious part of me but, as I watch the hourglass on my ministry life slowly drain down, I’m eager to take full advantage of whatever time the Lord allows me to serve Him.  

However…

After a great deal of prayer, many conversation with Joanne, and input from the elders, I’ve decided that this is something I ought to do – for the following reasons. 

  1. The primary reason is because Joanne would really like me to take one and I really want to honor her in that. Joanne has been an astonishingly faithful and gracious companion in my ministry at Harvest for all these years. I couldn’t possibly have done this without her. She’s been my rock and loving companion every step of the way.  Joanne has been through so much and given so much as my loving wife and faithful ministry partner – and I would like to honor that by giving her what she would really like - some dedicated away time for just the two of us, to do whatever she would like to do. The thought of blessing her this way gives me joy as I plan for the sabbatical. 

  2. I would like to do some serious reading on the topic of Spiritual Leadership and take some coaching from Craig Glassock. Pastor Wayne has been working with Craig for a while now, and highly recommends him. There’s a lot I would like to learn before I retire, and this would be a great opportunity to do that.

  3. I would also like to spend significant time in devotional reading and prayer (like I did this past September). That was tremendously helpful and I’m still benefitting from it. My prayer is that I would come out of this sabbatical more in love with Christ, more dependent on Him, and more useful to Him.

  4. This coming August 1 will mark the 30-year anniversary of my ministry at Harvest. That seems like a nice, natural time to do something like this.  

  5. Pastor Wayne, Pastor Adrian, and Brennen have strongly encouraged me to do this – and they have proven to be more than capable of keeping the ministry moving forward in my absence. I am so thankful for these brothers! 

I am working on drawing up a concrete proposal for the Session (dates, itinerary, specific books, etc.) which will be approved at a future meeting. Thank you for allowing me this privilege. I realize it is a gift, not something I’ve earned, and I am deeply thankful for it. 

Gratefully yours,
Pastor Dale 

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