Tuesday, June 25, 2013

On Sabbatical

David Apple has begun his three-month sabbatical which will run through September 22. The purpose of sabbaticals for pastoral staff (which they qualify for every seven years), is to renew and promote their spiritual and professional areas. Here is David's plan for his sabbatical.

In a conversation with a Christian book publisher about my upcoming writing sabbatical, the editor said, “Illustrate to me how your ministry is different or unique.” I responded, stating how people often call, saying they want to help at our soup kitchen. And I tell them, “We don’t have a soup kitchen. What we have is a ministry of hospitality where we invite our homeless neighbors to a banquet, welcome them as guests, and care for them as people created in the image God. Soup kitchens are food programs. Our ministries are not programs. They are about relationships and offering hope. We have to be an alternative to what the world provides.”

This summer I’m going to try and unpack twenty-five years of Tenth mercy ministry and put it on paper. I hope to show through this and a life of experiences what the Lord has done for his glory and the salvation of many. Lord willing, the above will become a handbook for
developing servant hearts in people and ministries in churches that bring healing to those who feel broken and broken-hearted.

There are many areas that I could highlight and write about. Here are some of them.

• Personal lessons and stories. God used childhood trauma and a sense of hopelessness to draw me to himself. As an adult, God used other tragedies to bring me to a point of total spiritual surrender.

• Practical ministry applications. Knowing the fullness of God’s mercy has been the bedrock of my daily walk and has inspired the method in which Tenth ministers mercy to others. Active Compassion Thorough Service (ACTS) Ministries today is a product of what I learned “in Jesus’ school” and at the foot of the cross. Tenth mercy is unique. As a Christ-centered alternative, we are able to show our neighbors and the world that we not only teach the full counsel of God,
but we also put it into practice. Mercy—Word and Deed together—helps to make the aroma of Christ fragrantly pleasing to unbelievers.

• How-to lessons. Several times a week, I receive calls from deacons and others asking, “What do I do in this situation?” People always ask for help in dealing with panhandlers. There will be answers to many frequently asked questions.

• Establishing ministries. Other churches do not have to re-invent the wheel. I hope to provide a how-to guide for new ministry development.

• Real stories. God has transformed “walking dead men” into people who are fully alive in Christ. God has also used tragedy and other events to establish new ministries.

• Restoration of dislocated limbs and repair torn nets. In ACTS, God has used the brokenness of people to bring about his healing in others.

• The biblical calling of the deacon. So many ordained servants don’t know what to do and fear making mistakes. Churches from New Jersey to California have asked for and received my help.
I need the Lord’s help to put this all together and I need your prayers. Pray that I use my time wisely and productively. Pray that God will use this writing to show his love and mercy to many. Pray that hearts will be changed and ministries will grow.

Many churches do not present credible alternatives to what the world provides. They serve their members, but not others. The fruit of this work will be men and women coming to saving knowledge of Jesus Christ as many churches re-dedicate themselves to ministry beyond their walls. Lord willing, they will take to heart the familiar benediction, “Now let’s go out to serve the world as those who know and love the Lord Jesus.”


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