(This is apart of the series: Redeeming Rest)

This series is based on a book from,  Mark Buchanan Redeeming Rest: Symptoms of Not Resting, who wrote the book, The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath Redeeming Rest: Symptoms of Not Resting.  If you havent read it I recommend it.  You need to read this book!

Have you had a sabbatical?   

I have never had a sabbatical.  In my last position at my church I was only a year away from one.  I have seen a few pastors have sabbaticals, and they are crucial for pastoral health in the long term.  Eugene Peterson states his need for a sabbatical, ““The idea for a sabbatical developed from a two-pronged stimulus: fatigue and frustration.  I was tired.  That’s hardly unusual in itself, but it was a tiredness that vacations weren’t fixing – a tiredness of spirit, an inner boredom.  I sensed a spiritual core to my fatigue and was looking for a spiritual remedy.” (from The Contemplative Pastor: Returning to the Art of Spiritual Direction)  He also goes on to state the value of a sabbatical, “Sabbatical years are the biblically based provision for restoration.  When a farmer’s field is depleted, it is given a sabbatical – after six years of planting and harvesting, it is left alone for a year so that the nutrients can build up in it.  When people in ministry are depleted, they also are given a sabbatical – a time apart for the recovery of spiritual and creative energies.  I have been feeling the need for just such a time of restoration for about two years.  The sense that my reserves are low, that my margins of creativity are crowded, becomes more acute each week.  I feel the need for some ‘desert’ time – for silence, for solitude, for prayer.  One of those things I fear most as your pastor is that out of fatigue or sloth I end up going through the motions, substituting professional smoothness for personal grappling with the life of the Spirit in our life together.  The demands of pastoral life are strenuous, and there is (often) no respite from them.”

Having a sabbatical will produce one of two outcomes: 

Restoration and Renewal.  I have seen a friend and pastor who went on a 3 month sabbatical, and came back transformed.  He was a new man.  His paced changed, his anxiety, and stress in his job was minimized.  People kept on commenting that he was different somehow.  After 6 years of working at a church, the church deserves a new and refreshed pastor.  You need rest, and restoration that will come from a sabbatical.

Moving On.   Either you are refreshed, and restored to comeback and serve the church, or you realize you need to move on.  Mark Buchanan Redeeming Rest: Symptoms of Not Resting at a retreat I was on said that the easiest way for a church to move a pastor on is to give him/her a sabbatical.  If you are feeling burnt out, you need a sabbatical.

Does your church have a sabbatical policy?  How long do you get?  Leave a comment below!
(This is apart of the series: Redeeming Rest)

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