Hey, Pleasant Valley!
As most of you know, Pastor Brad announced on Sunday, July 6th, that Pastor Jamus is now on sabbatical. At the strong recommendation of the other four pastors, the Personnel Team and trusted, outside counselors, Pastor Jamus has submitted to taking the months of July and August to be away with Annie and his children. He will also be away the last half of December and the first half of January 2015. Though Pastor Brad did a wonderful job communicating the reason for the sabbatical, we felt like it would be great for you, the church body, to hear from Jamus personally! To that end, I’d invite you to read the letter from Jamus below. Specifically, I’d ask you to pay special attention to the end of the letter and join the pastors and staff in praying for the requests Jamus offered to us.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact any of the pastors.
Grace and peace to you!
June 30, 2014
God instructs us in Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God.” For a while now, this has been difficult for me as a pastor. On an increasing level over the past 2-3 months, I have found myself in very much of a spiritual desert. Though I have continued to pastor and preach, I have felt quite distanced from God. Additionally, I have struggled with tremendous spiritual and physical fatigue, frequent anxiety, a lack of motivation, bouts of joylessness, and a desire to somewhat distance myself from people in general.
I kept thinking that I will just “shake it off,” and that all will return to normal. However, I realized over the past few months that I have found myself in a kind of spiritual depression that cannot be easily shaken. At the encouragement of my wife and others, I sought out counsel from two Godly, mature men in their 60s in Louisville. These men have both served in pastoral ministry, and currently travel the nation serving as counselors to other pastors. After spending only a few hours with them two weeks ago, they quickly discerned that I was on the track to a textbook case of burnout. Their diagnosis is that I have a fatigued and exhausted soul that needs great care, attention, and space. They insisted that this is very common for pastors in a similar position to that which I am in (pastors of quickly growing churches).
Their immediate counsel was that I must quickly find time to get away and to allow space for my soul to heal and recuperate. In particular, they insisted I take a 3-month sabbatical. They then contacted Pastor Brad Rhoads and came to PVCC the following Sunday to meet with the Pastoral Team and PVCC’s Personnel Team to share their concerns and recommendations.
As a result, the Pastoral Team and Personnel Team have very graciously asked me to take a sabbatical. I will be away from PVCC in July and August, and then again for another month in the last half of December and the first part of January (for a total of three months). Annie and the kids will be with me for the majority of this time.
In my flesh, this will be very difficult for me. However, at the overwhelming wise counsel of men that I deeply respect, I am humbly submitting. My goal over this time will be primarily to rest my soul, spend time in prayer, and reconnect with God. I will spend as little time thinking about “work” as I can, and really seek to re-find my joy and satisfaction in Christ alone. During my time away, I will meet frequently with my counselors from Louisville to receive their counsel as they help me navigate through some of the areas in which I’ve been struggling.
With all of my heart, I long to serve at PVCC for many years to come. My counselors and other wise people in my life believe that this time away will allow me to recharge and then come back with a greater zeal and energy to effectively lead PVCC. The goal is that a short sabbatical will allow me to be more effective and useful for the next 10-15 years at PVCC. I will miss you all dearly, and will be very eager to get back in September. My first two weeks back in the pulpit, I will be preaching on the theology of rest and Sabbath. Hopefully, I will be able to preach these sermons as one who has actually experienced the things about which I preach.
To be clear, by God’s grace, there has been no more failure or outstanding sin. Annie and I are doing very well in our marriage. There is nothing more going on than what I have shared in this letter. My soul is simply exhausted, and I must learn to allow my mind to rest and to cast my cares and burdens upon the shoulders of Jesus.
If you would, I would like to humbly ask that you pray the following for me during my time away:
- That as David prayed in Psalm 51, the joy of my salvation would be restored
- That I would trust God fully, and know that the world and PVCC is not dependent upon Jamus Edwards
- That my mind would rest, and not worry and think about all of the things that I could or should be doing
- That my wife and kids will be blessed and refreshed
- That I would return with greater energy, joy, and vision than I’ve ever had before
My fellow pastors and the pastoral assistants will faithfully cover my responsibilities in my absence. I’m so thankful for their willingness to serve PVCC and I during this time. I’m 100% confident that PVCC is in outstanding hands. I’m arguably the most blessed pastor in the world to serve alongside such wonderful, Godly men.
Thank you so much for your gracious love and support.