Home Pastors Articles for Pastors 5 Reasons Your Pastor Needs a Sabbatical

5 Reasons Your Pastor Needs a Sabbatical

Church members expect sermons that reflect much prayer and study. The pastor’s schedule often works against that ideal.

The sabbatical can offer much needed, and uninterrupted, study time.

4. Pastors who have sabbaticals have longer tenure at churches.

Though my information is anecdotal, I do see the trend.

And while I cannot prove a cause-and-effect relationship, I feel confident that pastors who have sabbaticals are much more likely to stay at a church because they are less likely to experience burnout.

5. Pastors who have sabbaticals view the time off as an affirmation from their churches.

I have heard from many pastors who share with me a sentence similar to this one: “I know my church loves me because they give me a sabbatical.”

Pastors need affirmation. Sabbaticals can accomplish that goal.

I estimate that only about 5 percent of churches offer sabbaticals. In almost every case where I am familiar, the relationship between pastor and congregation is very healthy. I do think at least one of the reasons is the sabbatical.

What is your view of sabbaticals for pastors?

What would you add to my five reasons?  

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Thom S. Rainer is the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources (LifeWay.com). Among his greatest joys are his family: his wife Nellie Jo; three sons, Sam, Art, and Jess; and six grandchildren. He was founding dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism, and Church Growth at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. His many books include Surprising Insights from the Unchurched, The Unexpected Journey, and Breakout Churches.