By David C. Alves
Have you noticed the toll modern ministry is taking on our pastors? Pastors are in big trouble but have few resources to help. Pastoral fatigue and burnout cost the church more than just money; it costs lives, drying up the pastoral pool. More pastors and church leaders leave ministry today than in the history of the Christian Church. And I almost became a statistic. I learned the hard way how can we equip young pastors to plan for ministry longevity; and, help more experienced pastors foster the spiritual health and renewal that they need after years of ministry? More and more has been written about sabbaticals, yet few comprehensive, but simple, guidebooks are available to assist a pastor to initiate and maximize the gift of his or her pastoral sabbatical. This primer is designed to take a pastor through the sabbatical from conception to conclusion. It contains more than was available to me when I took both my first and second sabbaticals. Though not meant to be scholarly or exhaustive, the content accomplishes the purpose of a primer on spiritual sabbaticals. THE PRIMER ANSWERS THESE QUESTIONS: --What is a sabbatical or spiritual renewal leave? --Why take a sabbatical? --Who needs a sabbatical? --Why do I need a sabbatical? --When should I take a sabbatical? --How long should a sabbatical be? What’s the criteria? --Where can I find the guidance and resources to plan and carry out a sabbatical? --How do I begin? --What do I do, or what steps do I take before, during, and after the sabbatical? THE PRIMER OFFERS: --A brief, biblical context and rationale for sabbatical and Sabbath --Practical steps and phases for planning, initiating, and navigating the sabbatical from beginning to reentry. --Answers to “honest fears and reservations” pastors have regarding sabbaticals --Helpful tools in the six appendices, along with other samples of proposals, letters, and a “Life Mission Statement” for prioritizing your calling --Encouragement for those who find the whole idea to be overwhelming --Specific references to sabbatical policies, housing, funding sources, and other helpful information to assist in planning the pastoral sabbatical --A brief suggested reading list for sabbatical reading --Helps for the church to understand your spiritual renewal leave—sabbatical Purchasing the Sabbatical Primer for Pastors is one of the best investments you'll make toward the longevity of your ministry and pastoral health. As part of your decision process, take the time to read WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT IT in the reviews. Consider buying one for a friend or colleague in ministry as well. You just may save a calling . . . and a friend.