What a Sabbatical Allows You (or Your Pastor) to Do

2013--8A sabbatical leave allows you to do important things that your regular routine doesn’t. Here are some examples. These are not the only features of a sabbatical leave. Not all sabbaticals look alike. But they are features that I deeply enjoyed and appreciated this summer on my sabbatical, and I share them with you to encourage you to make sabbatical leaves part of the culture of your church. If you are a pastor, this is what a sabbatical can do for you. If you are a lay leader in a church, this is what a sabbatical can do for your pastor.

A sabbatical allows you to be unhitched, unhurried, unscheduled, unpressured. You can, for a season, set aside the burdens of clock, schedule, and demands in order to think differently about life and ministry.

A sabbatical allows you to rest. You don’t have to set your alarm if you don’t want to. You can take daily naps and wake up when your body tells you. You can sit in a lawn chair and watch the sky without feeling like you have to do something else. You can read a book that takes you into a different world so that your interior world can be refreshed.

A sabbatical allows you to connect with family and friends more deeply. Sure, you can get together during your regular schedule too, but on a sabbatical you can connect with people unhurriedly and repeatedly. And you can do things or go places together that are out of the ordinary.

A sabbatical allows you to spend unique time in reading, praying, reflecting, writing, and talking. This is unhurried and extended time. It is reflective time. It is processing time. It is thinking time. It is relational time with God. It is formative time with yourself. It is exploratory time with others. It might be focused on personal nurture, personal transformation, life goals, ministry goals, or other priorities. But it is time not readily available in the normal routines of life.

A sabbatical creates unique and fertile space. It temporarily clears away our regular responsibilities and rhythms, the daily demands and pressures that become obstructions and impediments to thinking differently—freshly, incisively, rightly—about life and ministry. This clearing away gives us space—space of schedule and space of soul for regaining perspective, for recalibrating with what is important. A sabbatical allows us to come up for air and come out of the current, to see where the river is taking us, to discover whether we’re on the right river.

I’m grateful for my sabbatical. Is it time for your church to adopt this rhythm? We can help you and your church leadership team arrange and plan a sabbatical leave for yourself or your pastor. Contact us.