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. James O. Davis, president of Global Pastors Network, has stated that:
- 1,600 pastors in US churches quit or resign from their jobs every month
- nearly 20 percent of pastors suffer stress or burnout
- 50 percent of pastors become divorced
A sabbatical is a change or a break from the normal routine. It’s an opportunity to step back, reflect, relax, recharge, and renew.