After the suicides of two young pastors of Megachurches, one in 2018 and one this year, Rev. Howard-John Wesley, senior pastor of the historic Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, Virginia, surprised his congregation earlier this month with an announcement that he is stepping away from his ministry for a season because he feels far from God, tired in his soul and needed to recuperate mentally and physically.
“From January 1 (2020) to April 1. I am walking away from every responsibility I have as pastor,” Wesley announced in his sermon on Dec. 1.
“You can’t pour out of an empty cup. It is very dangerous for your pastor to be on empty,” he told congregants. “I need to take care of me.”
In a sermon entitled “Selah” on the value of rest, Wesley noted how common pastoral sabbaticals are in white churches while pointing out how rare it was in black churches. He argued that many black pastors don’t take sabbaticals because they are afraid attendance might dip and affect the bottom line or the church may just function just fine without them.
The journey of Francis Chan from a Megachurch in California to starting a successful House church movement and more recently to a ministry in Hong Kong demonstrates God is taking His church back. The end times church will be like the church described in the Book of Acts. Take a look at my recent post Thailand – Free in Jesus Christ to see the Book of Acts church in action.