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Thanks for tuning in faithful Bootcamp listener! Jimbo and Bob break down a few updates (the Bickford dog search-the Stew Crew mock trial/musical productions) and then take a look ahead and talk about summer and provide some encouragement to make your summer count for good.

Here some of the highlights:

  • Take a break/vacation-if possible, see if you can do a couple of back to back Sundays. Putting together two weekends off really increases the rest you’ll gain and feel as you recharge your batteries.
  • On your break create some family memories –  choose wisely, make sure the vacation destination or activity actually adds value and not stress.
  • Create some low key church events where you can fellowship around tables, in circles. Ensure that there is good conversation time for those gathered.
  • Get outside – take walks, find a patio to do sermon prep, ride your bike.
  • Commit to taking a sabbath – to rest in the Lord, enjoy worship with the church, read the bible, pray, get out in nature, journal, do what adds energy and value to your life.

Whatever you do, make sure you take time this summer to reset and replenish your body, mind, spirit and soul.

Join us in Atlanta for the Replant Summit, August 29-30. It’s all about renewing and replenishment for you in your work.  Check out this great event and register now-spots are filling up fast!


JimBo Stewart: [00:00:00] Here we are back at the bootcamp. He’ll be ready for the next episode. Bob, last episode, we said that when we returned that we would know who the next Bickford edition of the family is, the, pup edition. And so, update our listeners, the bootcampers cause they’re all waiting on beta. I mean, we had to change email servers.

We’ve gotten so many emails about this. give us update. Where are we at on the new big for dog?

Bob Bickford: Well, Jim bell, we have, we’ve had a lot of candidates and some really good ones, and we’ve had some actual, visitations with a few dogs. And, right now Jimbo, we are still, in the process of the search. So no dog has come home with us. but we’re getting. Getting some good candidates getting some good reviews and Liz, let me say, like, some people are serious about, they want to do like a home visit and reference checks and you know, all that kind of stuff.

and people get turned down for dogs, right? Like, you know, Hey, like this is, this is not the dog [00:01:00] for you. So I really have. Learned a lot in the process. And I do value the animal, volunteer the foster home, and they really care about the pups and, and you know, we’ve got grandkids and, that’ll come over and we, we just want to, you know, we’re trying to find the right one.

So the search continues.

JimBo Stewart: Well, the search got slowed down a little bit. You, you got around to, COVID and you beat you, beat it again. and so you’re two and O against against COVID.

Bob Bickford: Yeah. I am in a, so my natural immunity is going to be strong again for, I guess, another six to eight months, hopefully.

JimBo Stewart: Yeah. And then we’ll be back at this again, maybe

Bob Bickford: yeah, I have to stay away from Carl Bierman. you know, it is what it is, but yeah, thankfully it was a much less significant battle with COVID this time.

JimBo Stewart: good that’s and hopefully if you get it again, it’ll be even less than this time.

Bob Bickford: I know.

JimBo Stewart: Well, we just wrapped up. man just are wrapping up still a pretty intensely busy season in the Stuart family household. my [00:02:00] oldest had his 15th birthday and some other family stuff going on. He just finished his first run through mock trial competitions as a prosecuting attorney, incredibly proud of how well he did in that.

it was pretty neat to see him grow in that and learn in it a poor kid. I think he’s given himself an ulcer from the stress and the anxiety of preparing for it all. but it’s been a good season in the steward household and we’re, we’re heading into summer. And so we’re trying to wrap.

 Then we can move into summer. but our, how, how was the big bird, family appreciating or approaching a summer? Do you guys have like a summer routine?

Bob Bickford: well, We, since we’re empty nesters, we, we don’t necessarily like we used to, like, we would have end of school year events and things like that, but it’s been about three or four years since then. So, you know, we are, and we’re in that stage where our youngest doesn’t come home, you know, anymore, [00:03:00] she lives like has a lease and she works and, you know, does she’s doing some volunteer stuff and, and some extra curricular activity.

So. So our summer basically begins when the weather’s nice and I have to start mowing the yard. So that’s kind of how things, and, it’s been rainy here. And so finally, we’ve got some, some nice non ravey rainy weather. So we’ve been out in the convertible and catching some sun and doing some walking and, enjoying that.

And I, think one of the things that’s important. I really remember you remember the last day of school Jimbo, when you were, when we were in elementary school, you took the grocery bag, you know, to get your books or whatever, or you crammed them in your backpack. He threw away a bunch of stuff. And you remember the look on, on kids’ faces.

The last day of schools are running out of school. It’s just like such a glee and excitement. man, I think we all need that kind of joy going into this.

JimBo Stewart: Absolutely. You know, my wife and I. a big, landmark moment happening this summer. We’re looking forward to [00:04:00] where our birthdays are, both there. Me and my wife’s birthday is, are six days apart and in July. And we will both be over the hill 40, 40, 40 years old. And. Lordy Lordy, Luke, who’s 40. I remember when I was a kid, when my mom turned 40 and they threw her a massive birthday party, surprise party, and every balloon was black and every card was about how she was closer to death and they built this huge sign that just said, Lordy, Lordy, Linda Jane is 40.

and so I guess in my mind, 40 is a big deal cause of, of having that moment as.

Bob Bickford: Yeah. You know, I think I was, my wife will say this. She, she will say that I, when I turned 35, I was acting like I was 40, this in terms of like life was over and all that kind of stuff. So, but you know what, I, they, you know, some people say forties, the new 30 and fifties, the new 40, you know, who knows, I know I’m past those dates and I’m getting older, but, I think.[00:05:00]

You’re looking pretty good Jimbo. And I think, I think your mind is, and so I think you and Adria will be just fine in


JimBo Stewart: Oh, yeah. Or looking forward to it. So, you know, I think for this episode it would be helpful, to, to talk through. some advice for pastors. I think I would venture a large amount of our listeners are single staff pastors. so they’re either Bible vocational, in some capacity, even if, even if they’re full time, they may have some sort of side hustle or they’re in school.

or they’re trying to figure out if they’re re planter or revitalizer or, their single step. And meaning there’s just not a whole lot of extra time and money. Like I, I, you know, Our listener base does not strike me as the people who have lots of expendable income, disposable income, and time.

And so a lot of disposable income and time, [00:06:00] how do you approach, making the best of your summer also recognizing that for most churches?

The, the attendance drops in the summer and we can talk all we want. And we, we do talk a lot on this podcast about how we should not judge church’s health based on its attendance trends, alone. but it’s hard to not get discouraged sometimes. when you hit that big attendance drop over the summer, and you’re trying to figure out what to do with that.

So what’s some, what’s some things that we could advise our listeners encourage our listeners to consider for this summer. That might make it a little better for them. They could come out on the other side of it, a little help.

Bob Bickford: Yeah.

I think the number one, and this is the hardest one from for most pastors is man. Make sure you take some vacation and buy vacation. At least one or two Sundays off. And if possible, even a couple of back-to-back Sundays [00:07:00] and you know, here here’s the challenge for most of us and I don’t know feelings ever experiences, but it seems like I did.

Every time I took a vacation as a pastor and was not a Sunday, it seemed like something tragic happened in my job was in jeopardy when I came back or at least I felt like it. Right. So.

This crisis and you know, our good friend, Brian Croft, he’ll hear him tell a story about the first vacation he took and he was gone and he couldn’t get cell reception.

And somehow he got word that things were happening back at the church. And so he had to climb on top of this mountain and stand on a log or a Boulder or something, and barely get cell reception heard through broken communication. You know, it’s not going well. Right. So most pastors in them gone, I ain’t going on vacation.

Right. And for a couple of the fact that. Crazy things happen when you go on vacation, you don’t have a lot of money to go on vacation. I just say, you know, I just trust that the Lord has his hands on you and your [00:08:00] call and your season at church. You just need to get some time away, even if it’s busy family or friends or camping, or, you know, whatever you can, you can find a way to do vacation.

You know, that’s pretty inexpensive. And so I just encourage you guys getaway, get it, get it, get some time.

JimBo Stewart: So for our Southern Baptist listeners, what are your thoughts on, using the Southern Baptist convention as part of your family vacation? I could see how you might initially think as a bad idea, but also. The church is helping fund your travel. some then this year, it is in Anaheim, California, and you stay another day or two before or after.

Maybe, maybe, maybe that helps build a little vacation time in, if you’re able to do that.

Bob Bickford: Yeah. I think so. I mean, we’ve got a lot of friends that do that and I think, you know, before or after, oftentimes. If you’re prone to getting really energized about all of the SBC ins and outs and [00:09:00] decisions, it may take you a while to decompress after the convention, to, to be on vacation. And then, you know, you go right back into church.

So I think just be wise on that, and especially too, I think you have to, um, you have to communicate clearly. Cause I, I’ve not heard of this, but I could imagine for some churches they might. particularly those ones that examine every little move that the pastor makes, if they send them out to the convention and he takes some vacation days, either prior or post they’re thinking, what, why are we paying for them to go, out to this convention when it’s really worked for them?

So I think just be smart in that.

JimBo Stewart: Yeah. I think, I think there are two things you need to think about. Comes to taking a time off during the summer as one you need to replenish or you need to reset, you need to rebuild your energy, recharge your batteries, make sure you’re actually getting some rest so that you can continue on. But also on the other side of that, and these are not always the same thing.

You need to create some family memories, [00:10:00] sometimes creating family breweries and vacation time. is really awesome fun times, but it’s not as restful, depending on the age of your kids and what you decided to do, you know, how often have you heard somebody say, oh, I just took a vacation and now I feel like I need a vacation from the vacation because of all the logistics and the energy and carrying luggage and getting everybody where they needed to be and managing the schedule.

and so be mindful of, you really need to. I would say two main purposes with whatever time off you take, is, and that may mean two separate things. you need to, you need to recharge your batteries and you need to create some family memories. Even a family is you and your spouse with no kids. You need to create some memories and have some good times with family outside of your responsibilities for the church.

Bob Bickford: Yeah, I agree with you a hundred percent. I think also if you’re choosing some family time, You know, some families are prone to want to do like an event I go to, uh,[00:11:00] you know, or our place that. Has a lot of other people too. So like say you go to amusement park. Right. And those in my mind are probably some of the most stressful places to Cal.

I mean, you roll in there. You’ve got to stand in line. You got to, you know, wait, if you’re going to ride anything, you gotta ride something. If you are going to purchase food, then you know, it’s like a small fortune to purchase food. and, those don’t tend to be typically restful for someone like me.

But if you go to the lake or the beach Rigo camping out, or get a cabin in the woods and you’ve got bikes and fishing poles and canoes, and you know, all those sorts of things, I think some of those types of vacations tend to be a little bit more fun. in relaxing also, do you have a little more downtime to do some fun family stuff?

Right. And so maybe take a day, you know, to in, in, during your time away and go do something. Why can’t agenda place a museum or amusement park or something like that. [00:12:00] But if, if that’s like, if you’re just doing like five days of vacation and four days of amusement park, may I think I don’t, that’d be stressful to me.

I don’t know about you, but I just think that’s a.

JimBo Stewart: Yeah, we’ve done some amusement park type stuff and, it’s fun and it creates great memories. And I’m glad that I do it, but I definitely don’t

come back fully rested. From all of those things. our family is planning to do a couple of days, just one or two days at universal studios, the summer with the kiddos.

and so we’re looking at ways to do that. but I’m trying to think through how do I build into right before and after that waste for me to refuel and rejuvenate, because those aren’t always refreshing also think when it comes to, Not just our own family and our own relationships, but the church that we’re leading, how do we pour into, I think, I think summer is a great opportunity to pour into [00:13:00]relationships and let’s just go ahead and get out of our mind, that, attendance is probably going to slump.

That’s just the normal trend for summers. it may or may not, and maybe your church is different. Maybe your rhythms are different. But I think if you’d say all right, my win this summer, my focus is how do I get some relationship town around the table? How do I spend some time? And, you know, hanging out with church members in, growing with them.

What are your thoughts on that, Bob?

Bob Bickford: Yeah, I love that idea. And I think, you know, you’re the reality is you’re not going to catch everybody. but you’re going to catch some. And so I think in terms of let’s, let’s focus in on the, the normative size church. Right now you can do a picnic after the church service and say, everybody is responsible to bring their own food and just, you know, set up some tables and have some games and do some things like that outside.

You could do some backyard parties. One time we did a pizza with a pastor in the backyard at our house, and, you know, we have a pretty good sized backyard and we did [00:14:00] bonfire night, one time and some different things like that. I think the big, the big thing that I would recommend here is if it’s a fellowship event, focus on fellowship and not trying to do inflatables and like reach the community and, you know, face painting and where everybody has to volunteer and all that kind of stuff.

Like just spend some time with your church family, hanging out, maybe rent a pavilion at a park and go do something like that. But then here’s the key part, make sure that you, as the pastor, aren’t doing all the administrative and set up work for that. Right. And get your teams together, get the deacons together, get somebody to help you with that.

And then make it such an event where everybody plays a real small part in doing something. And then everybody bears some responsibility in contributing towards that event. You know, like, you know, oftentimes we feel pressure to provide food for everybody, but just let everybody bring their own. And let them do it and have some games that they bring the cornhole, bring some other stuff out there and just have a lot of fun.

And, I think those are great events where you can reconnect and have casual conversation. We did that through, a [00:15:00] couple of summers. We just would do that once a month and new scrub our lunch and head out to the park or head out to the parking lot. And it was a lot of fun. the weather was beautiful and it was a great time just to hang out in and enjoy time with with the church family.

JimBo Stewart: So much of what we see in the new Testament about how we are to interact with other believers, the one another’s and all those sorts of things are, are these communal aspects. So much of the Bible was written with a communal mindset and. it’s so easy to fall into the trap of the rhythm of a consumer mentality of just come to Sunday morning, come to Wednesday night or whatever, you know, do the things and then not really get to know each other.

And these kinds of moments in the rhythm where there’s maybe a little more flexibility in a schedule where you can focus on. Relationships I think are so key and so important. I believe so much more ministry is done in interpersonal relationships then, and sitting across the table from each other, sitting at, at a [00:16:00] picnic together, going to coffee together than it is, just on Sunday morning.

I think it’s only winners are immensely important, but. We live in such a busy world where we don’t get into each other’s lives very often. And if we do, it’s usually in just my small group or just my life group or home group or whatever. and so if you can create opportunities to where we’re just hanging out with people, we wouldn’t normally hang out with, I believe the holy spirit uses that in a mighty way.

And I think that’s a great thing for us to do.

Bob Bickford: Charlie green love it. I think some of the best conversations we think about it, you have a limited window before the service and after the service to have conversations and with some people in, in, maybe it’s a little bit more expanded. If you’re in a small group with them, and then maybe a little bit more expanded window if you’re doing leadership with them, but that’s not everybody in the whole church.

Right. And there’s a few people. And so some of the casual conversations that you can have with, with people just at events like this is super important.

JimBo Stewart: I think the other thing [00:17:00] in there is, get outside and enjoy nature a little bit and enjoy the beauty of outside. it’s been an interesting winter for a lot of us and a lot of weird weather has happened. And, uh, man, there’s just something about getting outside and, even do some of your sermon prep outside, if you can.

Yeah. where I live, the further we get into summer, the less beautiful it becomes outside in the more, just sweltering, hot. and so, but I do still love to go, even in the midst of June or July, when it gets crazy hot, if you can find a good shaded spot and enjoy, outside and find ways to slow down and, and rest, whether that be making family memories going on a vacation or even taking.

 maybe you need to look back into the rhythms of Sabbath and make sure that you’re finding ways to rest and be in dependence on the Lord. So much of Sabbath, I think correlates with, giving ties. [00:18:00] Right? Part of, I think the reason God calls us to give a ties is to remind us that we’re not in charge of our finances know.

Demonstrated act of dependence on the Lord. When it comes to our finances. Now our bodies do this already with sleep. We have to go to sleep. God doesn’t have to go to sleep. We have to go to sleep. Our bodies require it, and it’s a way of showing dependence on the Lord. but that one’s somewhat involuntary.

I mean, we can volunteer when we go to sleep and those sorts of things, but I mean, you’re going to go to sleep at some point. But Sabbath is one of those where we have to make a deliberate choice and we have to choose. I’m going to take some time. We’re going to set it aside to not be productive and to not, try to make something happen, but to rest in the Lord and have dependence on the Lord.

Bob Bickford: Yeah.

So as an active person, You know, when, when people would describe Sabbath and just as a day of rest, my mind would immediately go to not doing anything. Right. just [00:19:00] sitting there. And that would be like the worst for me. Right. So if you’re more like me, me and this, let me encourage you a Sabbath.

Is, you know, the, the day of worship and gathering with the church. And if you gather a couple of times during that one day. Awesome. Think about that. When I think of a Sabbath day for a pastor, Sunday’s usually not the day where he just feels like, man, this is a totally relaxing day and it’s a. No Dane, just for me to commune with the Lord.

I think we’ve talked about this before, when you’re, when you’re extremely physically tired or when you’re extremely emotionally tired and mentally tired. One of the great things to do is to work your hands, work your body, get outside, walk, create something, do something as a, as a form of, of giving a different part of your, your physical being, your mental being, and emotional being.

Two different activity that creates a sense of replenishment. Right? And so I think one of the things that pastors are probably not super good at is especially [00:20:00] guys that are our Bible occational is really finding a place and space for rest and in carving out a Sabbath. So what. Give give yourself some time to rest and some space to rest and engage in activities that replenish your soul and you’ll know what replenishes your soul or not.


JimBo Stewart: Yeah.

Bob Bickford: for me, that can be woodworking. It can be. Creating something or building something. it could be, you know, doing some remodel stuff that just gives me an opportunity to, to refresh and in that way. So I think figure what that figure out what that is for you. Maybe talk with your spouse about it and ask them, Hey, when I do these activities, does it give me life?

Does it not help me understand what adds value and energy to my life and then engage in it in, in do so, with great joy, knowing that the Lord can refresh you.

JimBo Stewart: Yeah. I mean, make it, make it a priority. I think it’s such a temptation to think. You know, there’s just not time to rest. There’s just not time to do that. I mean, that’s essentially the equivalent of saying there’s just not time to change the oil in my car. sure you could stretch it beyond [00:21:00] 3000 miles.

Uh, but at some point you’re going to regret that decision. I mean, it it’s, it may not be immediate. It’s not just like gas, right? Because I think even whenever. I I’ve decided that the oil’s a better analogy because I think sometimes we talk about running out of gas. Well, when you’re out of gas, there’s no choice.

Right. I run out of gas is burning out. And if we only wait until we burn out and the gas light goes off, then yeah, we don’t have a choice and it’s going to get bad. The problem is that where that analogy breaks down. It’s not as easy as just pulling up to a pump and putting some gas in when you’ve gotten to that point, that your body’s telling you, you don’t have a choice.

It’s time to stop. that recovery process may take longer than you anticipated or that you really do have time for. And so I think that’s why it’s important. I don’t know, for me, it’s clear to think of it as, changing the oil Was preventative maintenance. You’re not waiting till something’s wrong.

You’re going, I don’t want, I want my engine to be able to last a long time. And so every once in a while, I got to make sure I’m changing the oil. [00:22:00] now if you neglect that, then there are some pretty dire consequences and. It’s a new engine and it’s a big deal. And so in that same way, I mean, you’ve got to make it a priority and you can’t just wait till you feel it.

You can’t just wait until you’re starting to feel the consequences of your lack of rest. You need to pursue a dependence on the Lord by resting and trusting him with your productivity, on a regular basis.

Bob Bickford: Absolutely. I think the, the reality is ministry. By the call that we have to ministry is a call to sacrifice, to take up our cross daily follow Jesus. That’s, that’s a call for every believer, right? So there’s a, there’s a cost to that in sometimes it’s significant. And then. Competes with our Western mentality of, you know, I just want to do what feels good and right.

For me, et cetera. and then there’s the immediacy of our culture that goes against a disciplined, like looking at your life holistically for a long period of time. so there’s so many factors in this, you know, those, those themes are [00:23:00] all probably worthy of some, uh, a series of podcasts for us to think about how do we address those things in life.

But I think the bottom line, what we’re saying here is use the second. To do a simple reset to add space and time and fun and recreation and refreshment through a variety of means through travel through family, through church fellowships through, you know, you take a personal day here or there. just make sure you don’t run into the summer and just go at full pace and don’t use an opportunity to refresh yourself.

JimBo Stewart: Yeah, with all that in mind, knowing how hard the last couple of years are, we do have an event, coming up replant summit is in August. If you go to replant,, you can find the details and register on there. and then we would love to have you be a part of that and see me and Bob there, is we’ll have some.

Even we’re focusing that whole event on how, how do you kind of replenish in your soul, through difficult seasons of [00:24:00] ministry, but also reset so that you can come back at it stronger than, than you left it. All right, guys, we look forward to seeing you there. We’d love to hear from you. What are you doing this summer?

to dive deep into the relationships God has put into your life.

family, puppies, sabbath, summer, vacation

Jimbo Stewart

Replant Bootcamp Co-Host

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