Hey, can we talk about sabbaticals for a minute?
Not the 'go away and study' sabbatical. Not the 'take time off and write a book' sabbatical. I'm talking about the 'I'm a pastor and need to take three months off' sabbatical.
Please don't take a sabbatical because you have overextended yourself and worked too many hours.
Please don't take a sabbatical because you have refused to invest in other leaders.
Please don't take a sabbatical because you have neglected your family or your own soul.
Think About Your Own Church
There are people in your church who work too many hours. Do they get to take a sabbatical?
There are people in your church who don't have the help they need to do the work they do. Do they get to take a sabbatical?
There are people in your church who have neglected their family or their own soul. Do they get to take a sabbatical?
Maybe your theological tradition explicitly elevates the work of a pastor as extraordinary and worthy of special treatment.
Maybe you believe in the priesthood of all believers - that there is no sacred/secular divide and that everyone's work matters.
Either way, let's take a minute and make sure that we're not using sabbaticals as a band-aid for cancer.
Keep your workload under 45 hours a week.
Invest in the development of leaders at every level of the organization.
Cultivate a healthy life - spiritually, emotionally, physically.
Be present with your family.
Then plan and enjoy a sabbatical. I suggest one month per every five years that you have been at the church.
Do The Next Right Thing
My friend, Ray Ortlund, passed along two indicators of health for pastors:
A sense of possibility that borders on giddiness
An intense love for other men
Use those two criteria to evaluate your health.
And before you take a sabbatical, focus on doing whatever it takes to get healthy.
Let's do all that we can to make sure that sabbaticals are rest, not rehab.