What Pastors Should Know Before Their Sabbatical

Rx for Churches Creating a Sabbatical Policy

– Qualifications: Specify what roles this covers (lead pastor only?), when it can happen (after X years of service at that church), and for how long (X months). 

– Budget: Be clear about who pays for travel, education or other expenses, when, and what documentation is necessary.

– Goals: Set measurable written objectives or expectations for the sabbatical period.

– Communication: How will the sabbatical be announced to the congregation, and what report is expected after the sabbatical concludes, and to whom?

– Ethics: Have an honest quiet conversation about the pastor’s future and fit in the church. Some pastors take a sabbatical in order to secretly look for another church position, resigning as soon as they return.


Martin SandersMartin Sanders oversees the Doctor of Ministry program at Alliance Theological Seminary, Nyack, NY. A published author, he is also founder of Global Leadership, Inc.
Warren BirdWarren Bird oversees the research division of Leadership Network, has co-authored 24 books, and is a frequent contributor to Outreach magazine.
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