Two Examples …
A number of books, articles, and examples are available to help you avoid re-inventing the wheel in developing a policy. Google: “pastoral sabbatical policy” and you will find over 3,700 hits. Here are two examples of churches’ sabbatical policies:
Personal development leave is for professional growth that will benefit our church.
- Leave accrues at 1.5 weeks per year of service.
- A pastor must serve a minimum of two years before scheduling a study leave.
- All personal development leave must be scheduled and approved by the church Council. The Administrative Committee will make a recommendation based upon a review of all the pastor’s schedules and the purpose of the leave with the assurance that all ministries will be properly carried on.
- A pastor will serve a minimum of six months following the use of any personal development leave.
- Accrued personal development leave is forfeited when a pastor resigns. The church Council may waive this in the case of a tendered resignation.
Sabbatical leave may be granted to full-time pastoral staff members for the pursuit of activities as approved by the Council of Elders. The following stipulations and requirements will apply:
- Sabbaticals may be approved for six months at the culmination of each seven years of full-time ministry at the church. Each staff member may apply vacation time earned to extend his/her leave to a maximum of one month.
- Full salary and benefits will be paid during the leave.
- A detailed proposal for use of a sabbatical leave will be presented to the Council of Elders at the time of application for leave. Applications should be presented six months prior to expected leave. The council has the right to deny leave for sabbaticals it feels does not meet its approval.
- The intent of sabbatical leave is to further the ministry of our church.
- Upon returning, the staff member taking a sabbatical leave will give a report to the Council of Elders on what was achieved during the leave.
Each year your church should put aside an amount equivalent to one-twelfth of the pastor’s annual salary to cover the salary during the sabbatical leave. The seventh year of a pastor’s tenure is often one of mental and spiritual fatigue. By allowing the pastor to take a three-month sabbatical at this time, the pastor’s life will be re-energized, which will have a positive impact on the church’s ministry, as well.