For the last 18 months or so, the pastors of our church have been having a discussion about a sabbatical for me. What is it? Should I be given one? How long? How should it be spent? After spending a good bit of time doing research, seeking counsel from others, and discussing it among themselves numerous times, they included me in the discussions. They determined they would recommend a Sabbatical for me to the congregation for next summer as I approach my 10-year anniversary.
Here was a portion of that proposal they wrote and submitted to the church for discussion last month:
The intention of a pastoral sabbatical is to provide a time of rest, renewal, and refreshment of the pastor’s soul and his family with longevity of ministry in mind. The pastoral sabbatical includes deliberate efforts for the pastor to grow, learn, mature, and excel all the more in his ministry upon his return. The pastoral sabbatical is distinct from vacation time. When the pastor uses vacation time, he is not expected to fulfill ministry obligations. However, during the pastoral sabbatical, the pastor is charged to engage in devotional, theological, pastoral, and personal reflection and renewal.
I would love to hear from some pastors who have taken a sabbatical. What did you do? How long was it? What were the reasons for it? How did it benefit you and your congregation?
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Brian Croft is Senior Pastor of Auburndale Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky. He is the husband of Cara and adoring father of four children, son, Samuel and daughters, Abby, Isabelle, and Claire. He has served in pastoral ministry for over fifteen years and is currently in his eighth year as Pastor of Auburndale Baptist Church. He was educated at both Belmont University and Indiana University receiving his B.A. in Sociology. He also undertook some graduate work at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
He is also the author of Visit the sick: Ministering God’s grace in times of illness (foreword by Mark Dever) and Test, train, affirm, and send into Ministry: Recovering the local church’s responsibility to the external call (foreword by R. Albert Mohler Jr.). Both of these volumes are published by Day One in their pastoral series designed to serve pastors, church leaders, and those training for local church ministry. Brian has also published Help! He’s Struggling with Pornography and Conduct Gospel-centered Funerals (co-written with Phil Newton).
A Faith That Endures: Meditations on Hebrews 11 is Brian’s newest book, released in fall of 2011. His next book on The Pastor’s Family, co-authored with his wife, is due to be released by Zondervan in Fall 2013.
To find out more, please visit Practical Shepherding.