A Summer to Rest, Reflect, and Renew
Thanks to a grant from the Clergy Renewal Program of the Lilly Endowment, The Calvary Baptist church family be given the opportunity this summer to “Rest” in God’s goodness, to “Reflect” on the story of what He’s doing in us and in the world, and to “Renew” our spiritual passion as prayer, growth, worship, fellowship, and ministry prepare us to see, love, and follow Christ in new ways.
For our pastor Alex Martin, the sabbatical will provide an opportunity to take a break from the rigors and routines of ministry so that he can devote extra time to prayer, reading, and other forms of renewal. At the heart of his experience will be a “cycling pilgrimage,” in which he will ride his bike through parts of Ireland, Scotland, and England as he visits sites that have played a key role in the development and spread of the Christian faith.
For the congregation, the sabbatical will provide an opportunity to hear from special speakers, to have fun as brothers and sisters in Christ, and to seek the Lord together using a sabbatical devotional guide that’s been written by our own members. But as with so many other facets of the Christian life, what we get out of these opportunities will depend to some extent upon what we put into them. It’s only as we act intentionally to open our hearts to God and each other that His Spirit can shape and empower us to know and serve Him better.
To learn a little more about our sabbatical speakers and activities, just check out the highlights for each month:
Keynote Speaker: Adam Mabry
Adam Mabry is the lead pastor of Alethia Church in Boston, Massachusetts, and the author of The Art of Rest: Faith to Hit Pause in a World that Never Stops. A dynamic speaker, Adam has learned the importance of rest through his experience planting churches in both Scotland and Boston. He holds degrees from Reformed Theological Seminary and Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, and he writes frequently for The Gospel Coalition, EveryNation.org, and NewChurches.com. His wife Hope is an educator and photographer, and they have four children: Alanna, Nora, Cole, and Wyatt.
Adam will be leading a seminar on The Art of Rest on Saturday, June 11, from 9 am to Noon in the Fellowship Hall (a continental breakfast and time of fellowship will begin at 8:30). Through biblical teaching, personal testimony, and shared discussion, he’ll help us see the value and importance of rest and will share some of the practical steps we can take to incorporate rest into our lives. Adam will also be our guest preacher in worship on Sunday, June 12, when he will speak about Finding Sabbath.
Youth Mission Trip
A team of 14 youth and 7 adults will take a pilgrimage to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on June 11th to work with Praying Pelican Missions, a ministry that connects church teams to local organizations so they can serve communities in the name of Jesus. Depending on the need, they’ll do things like serve meals in local feeding programs, build relationships with children, and support the work of church-based shelters and thrift stores. Although we can’t serve alongside the team, we can pray alongside them, asking the Lord to keep them safe, to draw them closer to Christ and to each other, and to help them discover the gifts that will enable them to keep serving in our own church and community. Please keep our team and their work in your prayers. And be sure to worship with us when they tell us about their trip on Sunday, July 3.
Vacation Bible School
Calvary’s kids get an opportunity to take a pilgrimage back in time through this summer’s Vacation Bible School: Jerusalem Marketplace, which runs from Sunday, June 26, through Thursday, June 30. Each night, participants will go to Jerusalem, where they’ll enjoy music, crafts, games, and a lesson about what Jesus did in Jerusalem to show us who He is and how much God loves us. And this journey isn’t only for children! Adults will have their own VBS track, where they’ll get to discuss our sabbatical themes of rest, reflection, and renewal. VBS activities begin each evening with an optional snack supper at 5:30, followed by worship, learning, and fun that runs from 6 o’clock to 8:15. We hope that you’ll make plans to join us – and be sure to invite a friend!
Keynote Speaker: Tracy Radosevic
Dr. Tracy Radosevic is an internationally acclaimed storyteller, educator, and retreat facilitator, who has travelled all over the world introducing people to the power of God’s Story. She has several degrees, including a Master of Religious Education from Duke University, a Master of Arts in Storytelling from East Tennessee State, and a Doctor of Ministry focusing on Spirituality for Life Together from Wesley Theological Seminary. In addition to her work in churches and universities, she has served as the editor for The Biblical Storyteller and as the Dean of The Academy of Biblical Storytellers. She currently lives in Baltimore, Maryland, where she enjoys volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, photography, movies, scrapbooking, playing her accordion, rollerblading, trips to the ocean, hanging out with her friends, and going barefoot.
Tracy will lead us in two workshops on the morning of Saturday, July 9. After a continental breakfast that will be served in the Fellowship Hall at 8:30, the first workshop will be “God’s Story, Our Story, and My Story.” It will begin at 9 o’clock and will teach us how stories help us to understand what God is doing in our lives, our church, and our world. The second workshop, “Telling My Story,” will begin at 11 o’clock and will offer some “how-tos” for finding the stories in our personal experiences and then telling those in ways that are engaging for others to hear.
That evening, we’ll have a fellowship meal that begins at 6 o’clock, followed by a “Storytelling Event,” in which members of our church family will get to share their stories with one another, and where Tracy will introduce us to some stories from the Bible. Tracy’s visit with us will end when she leads us in worship on Sunday, July 10.
Summer Movie Night
Sometimes, one of the best things we can do to get renewed as a family of faith is simply to spend time having fun together. That’s why we’re inviting everyone to join us for an outdoor movie night on Friday, July 22. We’ll get things started at 7:30 that evening with an ice cream sundae social. And then at 8 o’clock, we’ll settle in to watch “Sing”—a family-friendly animated hit from 2016 that teaches about the power of friendship and music to lift our spirits and help us overcome life’s obstacles. So bring your blankets and beach chairs and join our church family for a relaxing evening together.
Love Does Bible Study
In his best-selling book Love Does, author Bob Goff reminds us that love isn’t a feeling; it’s something you do! So as our sabbatical invites us to reflect on God’s love, what could be better than studying together how to “do love” in our everyday lives? That’s why we’ll be offering a 5-week study based on Love Does, beginning on Sunday, July 10, running through Sunday, August 7, and meeting from 5 to 6 pm each week. If you’d like to read the book or study guide, you can order these resources from Amazon.com. But even more important than reviewing the course material is pondering its application! Each week, there will be a “Love Challenge” that offers a simple way to experiment with putting God’s love into practice.
Would you like to participate but can’t make Sunday nights? You can also watch the teaching sessions using the RightNow media subscription available free to everyone in our church! And if you haven’t activated your RightNow membership, just contact the church office and we’ll send you the link that will let you get started.
Keynote Speaker: Kyle Matthews
Kyle Matthews is the Minister of Pastoral Care at First Baptist Church in Greenville, South Carolina, and a songwriter whose award-winning songs have been recorded by more than 70 well-known artists. In April of 2006, his Alma Mater, Furman University, awarded him the Richard Furman Baptist Heritage Award recognizing “a graduate who reflects Baptist ideals by thinking critically, living compassionately, and making life-changing commitments.” He and his wife Susan have two children, Emily and Christopher.
Kyle will share a concert at 7 o’clock on the night of Saturday, August 6, to which we’ll be inviting members of our community. He’ll also be our guest worship leader on Sunday, August 7, as he helps us consider what it means to experience renewal in Christ. Kyle is a gifted musician, speaker, and worship leader; so we hope you can join us!
Back-to-School Bowling Bash
Join us for a “Back-to-School Bowling Bash” on Sunday, August 21, from 4:30 to 6:30 in the evening at the Mount Airy Bowling Center on West Lebanon Street. You and your family will enjoy two hours of free bowling and excellent fellowship with your church family. Even if you’re not a bowler, we encourage you to drop in and enjoy our time together. We’ll spring for some pizza; and if you’ll bring some drinks, cookies, chips, or other snacks to share, we’ll make a real party of it!
Sabbatical Preaching Pastor: Roger Gilbert
Dr. Roger Gilbert is known to many of us at Calvary as the former pastor of First Baptist Church. But this summer, he’ll be our “Sabbatical Preaching Pastor,” sharing God’s Word with us on the Sundays that we don’t have a keynote speaker and providing continuity while Pastor Alex is away.
Dr. Gilbert was born in Huntsville, Alabama, and holds degrees from both Samford University and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. In addition to First Baptist of Mount Airy, he has served churches in Greensboro, Bladenboro, Winston-Salem, and elsewhere. He and his wife Deidra were married in 1968. They have two children and three grandchildren.
Other Sabbatical Resources
- Following Pastor Alex: Would you like to know what Pastor Alex is doing during his sabbatical? You can get updates, see pictures, and read reflections by visiting his personal blog: www.ruralrev.net.
- Devotional Guide: Every family at Calvary can receive one printed copy of the “Rest, Reflect, Renew” devotional guide, which was composed by members of our congregation. If you haven’t picked up your copy, stop by the church office during normal hours. And if you’d like a digital copy of the devotional, email our church administrator, Billie Doyle (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Prayer Room: You can support the work that God wants to do through this summer’s sabbatical by praying for our pastor, speakers, church leaders, and church family. Of course, transformative prayer can happen anywhere! But as our pastor said in a recent sermon, there is value in taking the time and effort to visit a place that’s been “set aside” for prayer (see Exodus 33:7-10). That’s why Room 118 on the lower level of our educational building has been set aside as a sabbatical prayer room. Pay a visit, and you’ll find prayer resources – along with a prayer journal where you can leave your prayer requests and insights.
- Sabbatical Reading List: Pastor Alex will use his sabbatical to learn more about the rich history of the Celtic Christians—early believers in the British Isles who played a key role in winning Europe to Christ after pagan invasions in the early Middle Ages. If you’d like to do some reading on this topic, you might want to check out these books, which are available from Amazon.com: Holy Companions: Spiritual Practices from the Celtic Saints, by Sylvia Maddox and Mary C. Earle; The Path of Celtic Prayer, by Calvin Miller; The Celtic Way of Evangelism, by George Hunter III; and Thin Places: An Evangelical Journey into Celtic Christianity, by Tracy Balzer.