It was two years ago right now that Tricia, baby Davis and I were embarking on an experience that would change the trajectory of our future--and today, I (still) find myself overwhelmingly thankful for that experience we had. After about 5 years on staff at CCF (the church where we were Pastoring), we were granted a 2 month sabbatical. It was in our contract- a real blessing from our church.
I just want to take a moment to share a brief encouragement with Pastors (or anyone for that matter). The sabbatical I took in 2009 changed Tricia and me in the deepest way--inside of us. I saw the church differently than I ever had before. And I feel like I got a glimpse of God's heart for humanity in the first three and last three chapters of the Bible-- that changed me forever. And the change inside of our hearts gave us new spiritual eyes. Those spiritual eyes gave us new sight of the future. Two years later, we live in Africa where we are planting churches and living into our calling at deeper levels than we would have ever imagined possible.
Can I encourage you to consider taking a Sabbatical? A break? Stop, reflect, seek, reset, refresh, renew, realign. It cannot happen in a day. It can't happen in a week. And it definitely can't happen on vacation!
If it is not in your contract or ministry agreement, I can help you find a way to suggest it to your church. I have some documents I could send you and more thoughts I can share with you. Just contact me.
If ONE person ends up taking this advice, this blog post was worth my time.
PS- I have a fundamental beliefe that sabbaticals are good for Pastors, but even better for the congregation. It helps Jesus get His glory when the church realizes that they do not NEED you to function and you realize that you do not NEED them for significance.