Presbytery of the Midwest

Study Leave Ideas

Dear Pastors,

By now, I have read your annual reports and responded to most of you. Thanks for entrusting personal thoughts and distressing feelings in your reports along with the good news that you are experiencing on the front lines of ministry. We are here to help you, to pray for you and to refer you to others who might support, upbuild and sustain you.

One of the things we look at in your report is a two-part question about your annual study leave. Most of you have 2 weeks baked into your contract. But when asked, “What percentage of that benefit did you use this year?” the answers ranged from “don’t remember” to none to 20% to 50% to 75% to 100%. If you are not taking it all, may I suggest a few things to bump your study leave up to 100%?

1. Good reads: Recently I’ve read Liquid Church (Lucas), Before You Lose your Faith (Mesa, et. al., Strange New World (Trueman), Gospel Bound (Hansen and Zylstra), and reread The Intimate Gospel (Palmer) and The Message of Ephesians (Stott).

If you are not counting your reading as Study Leave, that’s fine. My message is simply, Keep reading, Keep growing! I felt like I had gone to an excellent conference by reading Tim Lucas’ Liquid Church this past week. It will not apply to everyone, but the vision, strategies and stories in that book gave me a ton of ideas to share. Just email me and I will send you my four page summary.

2. Good Conferences: Two weeks ago I went to a Monday morning presentation led by Andres Garza. He’s a Church Planter, a City Planner and an Architect. He’s also the Director of City to City, America Latina. This is part of Tim Keller’s vision being implemented in many places in Europe under the heading City to City. If your vision is still a bit small, consider his call.

“To identify and support a church planting network in the 40 leading cities of Mexico, Central America and South America. Since Latin America is 80% urbanized, this vison will put the church in front of 600 million people.”

In the next month I will go to Advance Ministry’s Muslim evangelism conference in Dearborn, and a week-end event where our fellow pastor, Brian Evans will give one of six keynote messages on the subject: Did God Really Say – countering the unbiblical ideology impacting Christians today. If you are planning to do a week-end conference on church health, marriage, child raising, culture challenging, compassion building or other topics, take your study time to organize it and then let us know so we can celebrate and pray and even join you if we can.

3. Good Writing: I hope all of you are journalling, whether for your personal growth, or for the benefit you can share with your congregation or a wider audience. I see a few of you writing on Facebook or in blogs attached to emails. If you have written a book, let the Midwest Presbytery know about it. These are helpful ministries. I’d love to see a number of you writing daily devotionals for your church family, especially for special parts of the church year (Advent, Lent, Eastertide). Use your study leave to plan and pray and write. You will grow and you will bless others with the overflow of your time alone.

Here’s to a great 2023! I will look forward to hearing from you as we seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness together.


Uniting Midwest Churches to the Global Movement of the EPC
3453 Lakewood Shores Dr, Howell, MI 48843