You Cannot Give What You Don’t Have

Starting this Friday, I will be going on my first sabbatical as a pastor. The sabbatical is for six weeks, but I will also be taking some vacation and study leave, so you will not be seeing me in a pastoral role again until August. The Desch family will be around GRC on some Sundays, and on a few other Sundays, we will be traveling.

Just as Peter has done in the past, I’d like to share a few prayer requests and insights on how I plan to use my sabbatical. Before I begin, I’d like to say that I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity. In my experience, sabbaticals for ministry pastors are more the exceptions than the rule. This is a great opportunity for the entire Desch family to get some R & R and quality time together.

First, the prayer requests. As you think about my time of sabbatical this summer, please pray that God would renew the inner man; that He would fill my heart up with His love, grace, and the transforming presence of His Spirit. Some sound advice I have heard for all leaders is: “You cannot give what you do not have.” A pastor who is running on fumes has little of real substance to give to the flock. Yes, God can work through anyone and in any circumstance. He is not limited by our shortcomings, but His desire is to work through leaders who are feeding upon Him in faith, who are abiding in the vine.

Please pray that I would be a leader who is fueled by the grace of God and not my pride. The prideful leader does not think that he needs God, so he has nothing to give the flock, because he does not go to God for strength. The broken leader knows that God works through weakness, and His power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Cor. 12:9). Please pray that God would strengthen me through weakness, that He would renew the inner man by helping me to stand upon his grace alone.

Secondly, a word about how I plan on using my sabbatical. I intend to read a lot. This actually isn’t punishment, I truly love reading, and there are literally hundreds of books I wish I had time to read. Please pray that God would guide me to the right ones, the ones he wants me to read.

We will also be taking a road trip to the Atlanta area to visit my parents, my sister, and her family. We last visited Atlanta in the summer of 2015, shortly after my nephew was born, so we are excited to see how he has grown in the last couple of years.

I will also try to be more consistent with exercise and scheduling quality time with each of my kids in one on one settings (“dates with Daddy”, usually to the golden arches). Mostly I plan on just being present at home and enjoying this season for all that it has to offer. God willing, by His amazing grace, and through the power of your prayers, I will return a pastor who to one degree or another, has something more to give, so that we might all attain maturity in Christ (Col. 1:28).

Josh Desch came on staff as Pastor in 2011 and is now its Associate Pastor.  He oversees our Youth and CrossRoads (Young Adults) Ministries.