Sabbatical Letter from Dave Lomas
By: Dave Lomas
I remember the way the morning felt on the first day we woke up in our new home. We woke up on an air mattress, awaiting the moving truck that would arrive soon, filled with all our furniture and some friends from Reality Carpinteria. It took about an hour for them to move us in. After our friends prayed for us and left, Ashley and I stood there in our new apartment, our stuff all in boxes, our friends going back to where they lived, leaving us where we now live: San Francisco.
As Ash and I started unpacking our stuff and setting up our new home, we would soon be setting up something much bigger—unboxing the things we learned and the vision that God gave us to set up a new church home in the City.
That was 8 summers ago. A lot has happened since then. Ash and I are in the same apartment, but it feels like 8 lifetimes ago. I’ve heard it said that church planting years are like dog years—7 for every 1.56 years. That feels about right. There has been birth, growth, death, joy, pain, beauty, agony, success, and failure in those 8… 56 years. And now it’s time for a little break.
Ashley and I are taking a sabbatical.
A sabbatical is a Biblically mandated season of rest intended to follow a season of hard work—an invitation to rest, to remember, and to learn. And Ashley and I need that this summer.
We need to rest, and we need to remember. Sometimes due to the tyranny of the immediate, we as people have a hard time remembering all that God has done. We go from one project, one ministry activity to the next, not stopping to set up stones of remembrance.
Sabbatical rest also reminds us that we are human. We are not God. We are limited. We have to step away to show ourselves that we were not the ones making all this happen (it was God the whole time), and that God is still working when we are resting and waiting. I try to teach myself that by resting on Saturdays, but I need an extended time of that now. And I think you, as members of Reality SF, need to know that as well. This church belongs to Jesus. In my absence, the church is in capable hands.
This sabbatical will also be an opportunity to learn. I will be working with both an executive coach and spiritual director to try and fill in some of the gaps which others and I have seen in my leadership. Gaps I would like to fill in order to lead this church well into our future. God has done some beautiful things through our church community, and I believe He’s just getting started with us.
Ashley and I are so thankful to our eldership, to the staff, to the board, and to you, our church, for the gift of this sabbatical and for sending us in love and prayers as we rest, remember, and learn from the Lord in a time away together.
While on sabbatical, the elders and I have commissioned and met with a team of lay leaders in our church to come alongside Tarik and Kevin to support them and our staff. We are calling this team the Leadership Support Team. They are made up of people who have been a part of our church for years and have served in many different levels of leadership. They have displayed both character and servant leadership in our church community and have gladly accepted the opportunity to serve in this way. It is our hope that this team of men will be the foundation for a lay eldership candidacy in our church. They are:
- Wilson Leung
- David Coles
- Christian Fong
- Joe Tuson
I have full confidence in our eldership and staff to lead well during the summer. Our Leadership Support Team will offer another layer of support to them throughout the summer to ensure they have what they need to continue leading well. In addition to this support team, Britt Merrick and Francis Chan have also agreed to coach and support the elders in my absence and will be available as needed.
Throughout the summer, the pulpit will be filled with friends of our church and family from other Reality churches. The church will be going through the Sermon on the Mount, and the speakers are:
- Al Abdulla (Reality Boston)
- Britt Merrick (Reality Carpinteria)
- Christian Huang (SF City Impact)
- Jeremy Treat (Reality LA)
- John Mark Comer (Bridgetown Church)
- Josh Waidley (RSF)
- Rashad Clemons (Trinity Grace Church Crown Heights)
- Ruthie Kim (Because Justice Matters)
- Ryan Jones (Eucharist Church SF)
- Tim Chaddick (Reality Church London)
- Toby Kurth (Christ Church SF)
Here’s how you can pray for Ashley and I during this sabbatical:
- Intimacy with God and each other
- Rest and restoration physically, mentally, and spiritually
- Fun and Connection
- That we would come back from sabbatical more in love with Christ, each other, and the church
Here’s how we’ll be praying for you:
- Unity in the Spirit
- That you would minister to one another well
- A newfound depth in worship and prayer during our gatherings
- Joy in studying through the Sermon on the Mount
- Strength to carry on the mission of Christ in SF
While Ashley and I are really looking forward to this break, even more we look forward to returning refreshed physically, emotionally, and spiritually in order to lead Reality SF in being a community following Jesus, seeking renewal in our city.
Lomas Sabbatical Plan
June 7 – September 4
Month One: Disconnection and Restoration
- Out of the country with Ashley
- No phone, email, social media, or heavy theological reading
- Time of healing, reflection, rejoicing, praying, exploring new places, and having new experiences
Month Two: Exploration and Discovery
- Time away in our favorite place in the world (other than SF): Kauai
- Deep dive into the subject of leadership (books, lectures, and coaching)
- Reality Honolulu Prayer Tour
Month Three: Re-entry
- An epic golf trip with friends
- Weekend retreat with executive coach to process leadership lessons
- Regular coaching calls
- Work with a spiritual director
- Meet with a few mentors and pastors I admire
- Meet with RSF elders and Leadership Support Team
- Start to plan the fall sermon series