Sabbaticals are Needed

This past summer my brother–who’s a youth pastor in Wisconsin–and a senior pastor friend of mine both went on sabbaticals. A little over 2 months of time to refresh themselves and renew their passion for ministry. They both took advantage of the time. My brother went on vacation in North Carolina with his family, a marriage retreat with his wife in Colorado, and read a ton of ministry books. My senior pastor friend got the opportunity of a lifetime, visiting Greece and Turkey, as well as a week long silent retreat in a monastery. Both have told me how needed their sabbaticals were for renewing the drive they have for transformational ministry.

Yet, as I talked this past weekend with my senior pastor friend, it saddened me to hear that not everyone was supportive of his taking time off. Even though he got a grant from the Lily Endowment, which paid for his trips and paid for an interim pastor to take his preaching duties, many were still against his sabbatical. He told me how one board member had so adamantly opposed his sabbatical that he left the church because of it.

So sad. People don’t fully understand the amount of time, energy, sacrifice, and heart pastoral staff put into their ministries and people. They need extended time to unplug from work, silence themselves before God, soaking up his wisdom and grace. And we, as members of the church body need our pastoral staff to have sabbaticals because they come back fully charged and ready to do better ministry than they did before.

If you’re looking to go on a sabbatical, next year or five years from now, check out the Lily Endowment. This amazing group gives away about 120 grants every year to pastors going on sabbatical, to the amount of $45,000. You need to write an application, but they walk you through what a good one looks like. It’s worth it though.