Friday, April 5, 2019
Hey Fletch … After 60 years of our church’s history, 28 years on the pastoral staff, our leadership has granted a 12-week sabbatical for our Senior Pastor. We have the material and suggestions on how he and we should approach the sabbatical to benefit him most. My question is, do you have any suggestions on how we as leadership should approach this time with the absence? Any best ways for all (XP, other Pastors, Board members, Ministry leaders and all congregants) to “step up” to fill the gap with inspiration and practicality? What is the best perspective and communication to encourage all to make this a time to move forward and not just hold on and get by? Thanks for your thoughts.
DRF—It is terrific that your church is offering a sabbatical. This is a great opportunity for a pastor to regroup and get recharged for more ministry.
Let me share some of XPastor’s articles on the topic:
- I wrote a case study, Sabbatical: Siesta, Study or Sayonara?
- Chuck Olson wrote, Get the Most From Your Sabbatical.
- Rick Finitzer has, The Spiritual Benefits of a Sabbatical—For the Servant and the Kingdom.
- Gary Mayes wrote, Sabbatical On-Ramps and Off-Ramps.
- Westminster Church of the Nazarene shared their policy.
As to your questions:
- Have the Senior Pastor create a simple three to five bullets on how he will invest the time.
- Since this is the preaching pastor, decide who will be filling that role. Since it is 12 weeks, you could have folks on staff do this and get some guest speakers.
- Other staff will have to “step up” as you say. Again, 12 weeks is pretty doable. You as XP can run point for that period of time.
- You don’t want to communicate to staff or the congregation that this is a holding pattern, nor do you want to start any new initiatives that the SP hasn’t been a part of. Have good communication with the congregation of ministries stories—share what is happening in the church.