As I mentioned in the last post, I was encouraged to take some time for sabbatical while on Home Ministry Assignment with Peru Mission. So as not to waste this time, I decided to do a little bit of searching to find out what that would look like. I was also encouraged to find a sabbatical counselor; however, I have not done so yet.
A few biblical thoughts are as follows. God gave us the design of Sabbath rest one day in 7 (Genesis 2:2; Exodus 20:8-11; Deuteronomy 5:12-15). He also gave a design of several week-long breaks where the entire community stopped work and feasted (Exodus 23:10-19; Leviticus 23). Every seven years he designed for land to go fallow (Leviticus 25). He designed a release to all debts every seven years (Deuteronomy 15).
We also see Jesus' very practice in the flesh of pulling away to a secluded place to spend time in prayer. He spent 40 days before starting his ministry. These are just a few biblical points that help us reflect on the need for taking a sabbatical rest.
As I consider these things and consider the role of a minister and other ministry workers and missionaries as I have experienced in Peru and see through other pastors in the States is that this job is unlike many other jobs in that you do not have a clear off time. Even when you are at home, you are on call all the time.
Here are a few links of descriptions of Sabbaticals and of the need for Sabbaticals from a range of perspectives and in no particular order:
Why Your Pastor Needs a Sabbatical by Sarah Hogan on Vanderbloemen
Including Sabbaticals as Part of Soul Care for Your Pastor by Garrett Higbee on Biblical Counseling Coalition
What I Learned About Sabbaticals by Finally Taking One by Michael Morgan on The Gospel Coalition
Seven Sabbatical Insights for Pastors by Eric Geiger on Lifeway Christian Resources
A Sabbatical Guide for Pastors by Bill Gaultiere on Soul Shepherding
Burnout and Stress by Ed Welch on CCEF
I also spoke with Ray Cannata who shared with me Redeemer Nola’s policy on Pastoral Sabbaticals this was similar and also very helpful to get a good idea of the purpose, timing and planning of taking one. One comment from Ray was that pastors never get away from the job. “In fact, the more faithfully embedded in your community and mission, the less likely you get any breaks from it!!”