What does your church do to make sure your pastors stay spiritually refreshed? Or, does your church do anything at all? This month, I have the opportunity to take my very first ministry sabbatical. I have been in ministry for almost two decades, and I have never had the chance to do this before. So, needless to say, itís time.
I love serving in ministry! Itís an unbelievable blessing to serve the Lord by serving the local church. It blows my mind that I get to do this each and every day. So, for me, I am not taking a sabbatical as a result of being exhausted. Rather, I am taking a sabbatical to refocus and refresh.
For many pastors, their sabbatical is basically an extended vacation. Although I absolutely see the value in intentional rest, I would not encourage a pastor to use their sabbatical entirely for this purpose (although it might be part of it). If you need a break or need rest, that is the primary purpose of PTO. Go enjoy time at the beach or in the mountains with your family and get some much needed rest. But, for your sabbatical, I would encourage you to be more strategic with your time.
At our church, here is what we encourage our pastors to think through to have a meaningful sabbatical:
Location: Avoid coming to our office during your sabbatical. Instead, get away from lifeís normal distractions so that you can focus on the Lord.
- Spiritual Disciplines: During your sabbatical, schedule time each day to practice the spiritual disciplines (Scripture reading, prayer, worship, Scripture meditation, fasting, silence and solitude, journaling, etc.).
Books: Before your sabbatical begins, find a book or two that will challenge you and help you grow in your specific area of ministry.
- Family: Be intentional about spending quality time with your family.
The point is simple. Be intentional with your time. Donít let your sabbatical go to waste by being unprepared. Rather, have an intentional plan for your time, and execute on that plan. And by doing so, you will most certainly come back refocused and refreshed for many more years of faithful ministry.
You can view our full Sabbatical Policy HERE on my XPMinistry website. I hope you find it helpful.