Sabbatical for the Allisons

Aaron&Beth-2018-Apr8On Sunday the CIL Leadership Board made an exciting presentation to the church.  Upon their invitation, Beth and I have accepted a sabbatical to celebrate eleven years of service at CIL, and 24 years of vocational ministry.   From May 13 to July 14, we will be away from CIL, enjoying a time of spiritual reflection, family time, and other experiences we do not have the luxury for during the normal pace of ministry.

We are not burned out or in need of a break.  A sabbatical is not a reactive move.  On the contrary, this is a proactive spiritual discipline that will contribute to our personal health and continued service to the CIL community.

CIL is currently in a firm position in every facet of our congregation and experiencing positive momentum.  It is an exciting time at our church, so taking a few weeks off in some ways feels counter-intuitive.  However, we trust our fantastic staff, leadership team, and church family to soar during our time of retreat.

What will we be doing?  Our number one goal during this sabbatical is rest and spiritual renewal.   Some of the things we have planned include time with extended family, council from spiritual mentors, family vacation, prayer retreat at a monastery, and some house chores we haven’t gotten to in a while.

Will you see us at CIL? No.  Our children will still be attending the church often, but Beth and I will be completely retreating from congregational life for this short season.

Who will be preaching? We have an incredible line up of guest speakers that will be speaking each week.  The spiritual life of our church will increase from the ministry of both the CIL staff and outside speakers.

I am expecting this time to be a fruitful and rewarding time for our family’s spiritual development and the health of the CIL family.  Thank you for giving us this opportunity!  We could not be blessed more to serve such great people.

But, we are not on sabbatical yet!    I will be preaching the next five weeks, and I cannot wait to share God’s Word to you during the Easter season!

We love serving Jesus with you!

Aaron and Beth

Thank you, Beth Allison

IMG_2741Sunday is a bitter-sweet, transforming morning for me.  September 30this my wife Beth’s last Sunday as the CIL Worship Leader.  After 21 years of leading worship – 6 of it as CIL’s primary Worship Leader – Beth’s role on staff will change to other tasks on our team.  We are excited that Aubrey McGowan will now be CIL’s worship leader, and will celebrate that gift later.

For now, I remember 21 years that my constant partner in ministry has always brought it musically!  Whether she was tired, sick, pregnant, recovering from pregnancy, grieving the loss of her father, managing Lincoln’s early health issues, or dealing with an immature, unreasonable boss (that, would be me!) – Beth always brought anointed, Jesus-exalting worship. She voluntarily and sacrificially gave up her role as worship leader to cement the merge of the churches that became CIL.  When ever we were in a pinch, she always stepped it up.  She raised up so many talented worship leaders, singers and musicians for the worship team, lovingly encouraging each to step in their God-called role.

So here are all the places for now I can remember her leading worship at: Cornerstone’s Jr. High room, Tabernacle, Gym, and Sanctuary.  In Frisco, there was Hillcrest Day School, Beary Best Academy, our house on Santa Clara St., and the apartment clubhouse.  At Sumner Life, there was Guild Elementary School, the Palace Theatre, Sumner Regional hospital, the Glen Oak clubhouse, and Station Camp Middle School.  Then, came CIL.  Remember those Wednesday night services?  No one will ever realize how hard that was for an elementary Mom to lead worship on a Wednesday night.  At every place.  At every service. During every song.  She brought us all Jesus.

So, now I am excited for a new era in our ministry and marriage. I’m looking forward to Beth helping me more directly. I need her more than ever before, and it is wonderful to imagine all God has for our ministry. Thank you Beth for being my all-time, favorite worship leader!

Summer travel pics and comparison trap

36603014_10160483023075175_8588049423479603200_nI have enjoyed seeing all the travel pictures of friends on social media during the last month, and I have enjoyed a nice vacation myself.  I know some of my friends can’t afford travel right now, or are not physically able to leave town.  I hope that none of us fall into a trap of comparison, as travel pictures often do not tell the true story of what is happening behind carefully staged pictures.  In my case, my marriage and family life is strong, and I thank God and Beth for their grace in this area.

I think of the summer of 2008, and all the fear we were experience during the Great Recession. Americans were stuck with mortgages that were higher than home values, and prognosticators predicted our lifestyles would never return.  We rebounded, and macro economic indicators look good now.

So in these days of plenty, let’s remember the development of our soul.  This is also a gentle reminder to not allow the relaxed mindset of the summer months lead you to a lax attitude towards morality and healthy choices.

So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things– Colossians 3:1-2

 

Acknowledgments on Graduation Day

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Today is graduation day for me.  I hesitate to post something, because I have already been congratulated several times by so many of you.  But, I want to share my “Acknowledgment” page of my dissertation (I shared my dedication page a few weeks ago). I do this, because this accomplishment would not have happened without a team of people who believed in me and worked for me. No doubt, more people deserve to be acknowledged, but there was limit to space in the dissertation. I dedicated my work to my family, but they are rightfully acknowledged again. So to everyone on this list, THANK YOU in every way!

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

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To Dr. Charles Lea, dissertation committee chair, thank you for your mentorship, encouragement, and friendship. You used your vast experience and network to help me succeed. This project would not have been a success without your excellent leadership.

To Dr. Bryan Carrier and Dr. C. William McKee, dissertation committee members, thank you for your guidance and encouragement throughout this process. Your contributions were key factors in my success.

To Mrs. Amy Heckman, your hard work and helpful attitude for this study were invaluable. I appreciate so much your professionalism and skill.

To Dr. Charles Gaulden, thank you for pushing me to pursue my doctorate at a time when I believed the dream had passed.  Your constant encouragement through this process has been a crucial guide.

To the leadership and people of The Church at Indian Lake, thank you for giving me the flexibility and shared resources to pursue this dream.

To my children, Abbey, Luke, and Lincoln, thank you for your understanding when I was distracted or not fully present for you during this project. I believe we have many years of great times together.

To my wife, Beth, your encouragement and support of me goes beyond what words can adequately express. You are my life partner, and I am so thankful we did this together.

Dissertation dedicated to my family

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A few days ago, Beth really honored me by giving notice of my successful dissertation defense to earn a Doctorate of Education.  It meant a lot that she did so, but she deserves equal honor.  In fact, I dedicated my dissertation to her and the kids.  I wrote on the dedication page the following:

I dedicate this work to my wife, Beth, and my children, Abbey, Luke, and Lincoln. I hope the sacrifices you have endured for me to pursue this dream will be repaid to you with many opportunities for joy and success in your future.

Specifically, for Beth I wrote on the Acknowledgement page:

To my wife, Beth, your encouragement and support of me goes beyond what words can adequately express. You are my life partner, and I am so thankful we did this together.

On the Acknowledgement page for the kids, I wrote:

To my children, Abbey, Luke, and Lincoln, thank you for your understanding when I was distracted or not fully present for you during this project. I believe we have many years of great times together.

I wanted to make sure this important recognition was not buried in a dissertation, but proclaimed to the world!  I love you, family!