Yvonne and I are on sabbatical. I cannot express how important it is for pastors to take a sabbatical from time to time. When I am away, in the mountains or on the ocean, I can think so much more clearly and focus so much better on the real priorities of life and ministry. A sabbatical must be longer than a few days. We must disconnect from the world as we know it in order to reconnect with God. Jesus set the example. How often did He retreat or get away during His three years of ministry?
Most congregations do not understand the importance of sabbaticals. It will take good communications and teaching to change this culture. But, it must be done to preserve and improve pastoral leadership. It will pay great dividends to the pastor and the congregation.
A sabbatical (from Greek sabbatikos) is a prolonged hiatus, typically one year, in the career of an individual taken in order to fulfill some goal, e.g., writing a book or traveling extensively for research. Some universities and other institutional employers of scientists, physicians, and/or academics offer a paid sabbatical as an employee benefit, called sabbatical leave. Some companies offer an unpaid sabbatical for people wanting to take career breaks - this is a growing trend in the UK, with 20% of companies having a career break policy, and 10% considering introducing one.
Sabbaticals are often taken by professors, pastors, cartoonists (e.g. Gary Larson and Bill Watterson), musicians (e.g. Cindy Wilson, Bobby McFerrin) and sportsmen (e.g. Alain Prost). Academic sabbaticals are typically for one year following six years of full-time employment. Also taken by those young professionals who just need a break from work to determine if a career path is correct for them.
In UK and Irish students' unions, particularly in higher education institutions, students can be elected to become sabbatical officers of their students' union, either taking a year out of their study (in the academic year following their election) or remaining at the institution for a year following completion of study. Sabbatical officers are usually provided with a living allowance or stipend.
As Yvonne and I spend this time alone with God, we are already seeing things differently. God is restoring our divine vision.
We may take a little longer - until April 8 or so.