Part 4 of 4 – Read Part 1 first
How effective are sabbaticals for pastors?
That depends upon three factors:
- Are the pastor & church committed to God’s perspective of Sabbath rest? Some pastors will have to be convinced that they need a sabbatical, especially those who are extreme people-pleasers and Type A’s who push themselves and everyone around them. They need to be loved enough to be held accountable by those who love them.
- Are the pastor & church properly prepared? Unless BOTH pastor and church prepare and plan, the sabbatical will not be effective. It could even be a waste of time, money, and resources. The pastor must prepare. The fellowship must prepare.
- Pre-sabbatical planning
- Post-sabbatical celebration
Because preparation differs for church and pastor, I have split them in two documents which will be available shortly. The titles are “A Sabbatical Primer for the Church” and “A Sabbatical Primer for the Pastor.” Church or pastor can download them from the Maranatha Conference website: MCACC.net [http://mcacc.net/]
3. Are the pastor & church in agreement about the terms?
A. Is the length of time adequate for replenishment and refreshment?
B. Will everyone involved help the pastor to not be in the loop while on sabbatical? Calling in to see how the recent board meeting went is NOT being faithful to the trust of the church. Nor is informing the pastor that Mr. Jones decided to quit because the pastor went on sabbatical. Other leadership (local, conference, or regional) can be called upon and can handle church issues in the pastor’s absence.
The problem facing churches and pastors in the 21st Century is complex and widespread, but the solution is simple. If you read and act upon the content of this article, it will positively impact you for increased Kingdom effectiveness and spiritual longevity. By caring for the shepherds, you care for yourselves. Healthy pastors lead healthy churches. By embracing the value of “Sabbath,” both pastors and churches will fulfill their callings, honor Christ, and leave a legacy worthy of God.
- 10 Reasons Why Pastors Leave the Ministry, by Jim Fuller <http://pastoralcareinc.com/MR/Books/EBooks.php>
- Pastor’s Lifeline statistics: http://maranathalife.com/lifeline/stats.htm
- Michael Hyatt’s post, Should You Dare to Take a Sabbatical? / http://michaelhyatt.com/should-you-dare-to-think-about-a-sabbatical.html
- Articles at Maranatha Conference’s MCACC.Net [http://mcacc.net/]
- Leading On Empty, Wayne Cordeiro. Bethany House, 2009. Must reading. http://www.amazon.com/Leading-Empty-Refilling-Renewing-Passion/dp/0764203509
- David’s Place, “Solitude, Silence, and Simplicity” / https://davidcalves.com/2011/03/07/solitude-silence-and-simplicity/
This is the end of a 4 part series. Please share the series with others.
©2012, David C Alves All rights reserved.
First published by permission in The Witness, Winter 2012 by Advent Christian General Conference USA.