We consider sabbaticals to be an essential form of care offered to pastors, nurturing health and sustaining pastors for the long haul of ministry. Healthier pastors are healthier leaders, so congregations too will benefit!
There is increasing discussion in churches about the value of sabbaticals for pastors—and for good reason. The pastoral vocation seems to be more demanding than ever. Years ago, pastors’ duties were simpler and more focused. Today, pastors are expected not only to preach the Word, visit their congregants, and teach some catechism classes but to lead dynamic churches, sustain creative evangelism programs, excel in administrative skills, plan meaningful worship, possibly manage multiple staff positions, and more. Pastors are expected to accomplish all of this during their normal work week—a week that can be 60-plus hours long.
It's a recipe for exhaustion and burn-out.
It's also a reason to think deeply about ministers' health and vitality, to wonder not just about how to avoid burnout, but about how to build resilience, flourishing, and endurance over the long haul. This is where sabbaticals, periods of rest and refreshment, become so helpful. Sabbaticals are opportunities for pastors to step back, reflect, relax, recharge, and renew.
The links below provide key information about sabbaticals, which can be ways for churches to bless their pastors so that their pastors, in turn, can bless them.