Andrew Biking

Today, Thursday, June 25 I depart for a two-month sabbatical. I will be traveling to Boise, Idaho to cycle by day and camp at night. This trip was inspired by my pastor and mentor, Taylor Field. He himself took a six-month sabbatical after 20 years of ministry and encourages others to do similar after ten years. June 12-14, Graffiti 2 celebrated our 10th year of ministry in the South Bronx. So with a decade in the rear-view mirror, I am taking some time to rest and prepare myself for the next 10 years of serving God in the Mott Haven community.

Many have asked questions about this adventure. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions.



For God to be glorified at Graffiti 2.  John the Baptist said, “I must decrease and He must increase.” Jesus is the center of all things. My leave of absence displays God’s glory by demonstrating He is the source of all the good that has come from the work of Graffiti 2.

For God to be glorified in my spirit. I know that I should need nothing else but Him. However, my heart often yearns for satisfaction apart from Him. I want to drink from the well of Living Water and find my only satisfaction in Him.


Are you burnt out?

No. However, I came across a phrase last week that describes what I need. A fellow minister gave me a book called Breathing Space. I need breathing space. I need to not seek validation or affirmation through my work. I need to stop doing and just be. I need God’s help to recalibrate my thinking.


For a long time I have said, “I don’t really need this right now. If you get to the point of needing it you have waited too long.” As the time has approached, I have realized more and more that I do need this. Denying my need for rest is pride. I confess and repent of that now.


A lot of time is spent around Graffiti talking about Sabbath and rest. A fellow colleague calls this “selfless self-care.” Yes, I’m doing this for me. However, I’m also doing this for others. I know God has called me to minister at Graffiti 2 for the long haul. By tending to myself, I will better be able to serve others for the next 10 years.

How are you going to charge your phone?
Don’t know, don’t care all that much. I realized this week I need to detox from the barrage of indecent images and ideas that often come my way via screens. I also need to detox from seeking and finding validation, worth, and fulfillment through work. I find myself constantly checking my phone for e-mails. This habit isn’t too different than a lab rat in a cage hitting a button to get cheese. I may not get a reward every time, but I keep poking at my phone in hope of reward.

I want to be in control of my technology and not have it in control of me.

What’s your plan?
Not totally sure. So much of my life is planned and goal oriented. This will be a time to not have to do anything. If I want to go left I will go left. If I want to go right I will go right. If I want to stop I will stop. If I want to go I will go. I will likely make my way from Boise to Missoula and on to Yellowstone. I will ride my bike and camp in a tent at night.

Won’t you be lonely?
Striking out “on my own” isn’t scary to me. I know I’m not alone. I experienced this when I came to New York University by myself as a college student and later when I moved to the Bronx after college. Both of those experiences have brought richer relationships to my life than I could have ever imagined. I wonder how my life would be different if I only stayed within the comfort zone of people and places I knew.

What will happen at Graffiti 2?
The same as always. I have amazing coworkers and an amazing church. All will continue to serve Mott Haven through the summer.

Are you going to blog?
Nope. Going totally dark on communications. This will include e-mail, phone, social media, and blogging.
Where is Proof?
It’s no surprise this is the most frequently asked question. Proof is with my mom and sister in Missouri. She will enjoy a summer on the farm. I will bring her back to NYC when I return.


Many have suggested books I should read on my journey. There are two books I plan to read: The New Testament and Lord of the Rings. Frodo and I will be journeying together. Perhaps it makes sense to bring this to a conclusion then with some words from Bilbo Baggins.


“All that is gold does not glitter. Not all those who wander are lost.”