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Why make time for Sabbatical?

Sabbatical is simply a time off for rest and/or study. The time can be a few days, a few weeks or, on occasion, a few months or more. The minister is granted or takes a leave for rest, rejuvenation and perhaps, deeper study.

I would love to see ministries allow or even write into their ministry protocols for this time off. I have been co-laboring alongside ministry leaders since 2000. This has given me a good perspective of what ministry leaders say in the quiet times of reflection, prayer and struggle. In my ministry I have been forced by God into times of reflection that I should have voluntarily taken. These times have led to reinforcement of ministry and relationship goals. This has lead to dramatic changes in ministry and relationships, shedding things that were not healthy, even toxic, to my relationship with God and others.

Ministry leaders can be challenged by a variety of issues in a single day that business leaders and lay people do not confront. They are called to mentor individuals dealing with spiritual and emotional issues. Pastors will receive news of a child born and a death in the congregation on the same day. Many are on call twenty-four hours a day. This is exacerbated when living on the ministry grounds or now by cell phones.

For ten years we did not turn off our ringer when we were on ministry sites. We did have the added benefit of knowing we were on temporary assignment from God. However, this didn’t stop the late night calls and texts and visitors from coming to the door. For the full time minister or pastor there is no weekend or uninterrupted vacation time with spouse and children.

Few ministry leaders can have a time off, uninterrupted study or planning time. They can be exhausted from a late night call about something that could have waited until morning and pump themselves with coffee to cope. It is also hard to just have time alone with God each day or even once a month.

Burn-out and self-care needs came into focus among our missionaries at my missions-sending organization. We had some hiccups implementing good practices. The revised practices have improved both our relationship with God and our ability to serve those He calls us to love. We have healthier and more influential ministries now.

If you help your church or ministry understand what is needed and what you need, you will be able to see that they love and appreciate you. This will help bring the joy back to ministry. You will feel supported each day. We are here to help support you in taking the rest you need.

Brian and Steph Forbes

“May you be blessed by the Lord, 

the Maker of heaven and earth.” 

Psalm‬ ‭115:15‬

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