A Sabbatical for Pastor Carlos
A Sabbatical for Pastor Carlos Rodriguez in 2017
If you were in church Sunday, several weeks ago, you heard the Elders announce their intent to grant Pastor Carlos a sabbatical this upcoming summer. Carlos is in his seventh year as the Pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, and both the Elders, and the Presbytery encourage pastors to take sabbatical leave every seven years.
So, you may ask, What is a sabbatical?
It is not simply vacation, although it certainly involves rest. The word sabbatical is derived from the biblical word that means “to cease￼”. We are instructed to cease weekly and observe the Sabbath day keeping it holy. In the Old Testament there were other times of ceasing every seven years. In the same vein, being an effective pastor involves continued spiritual growth and therefore requires time to cease for rest and renewal. It involves rediscovering spiritual disciplines of prayer, solitude, bible reading, and reflection on the vocation of a pastor. It is an opportunity to think about refocusing or retooling ministry in the church. So it involves aspects of rest, reflection, and renewal for ministry.
Why is a sabbatical a healthy practice?
Because it benefits both the pastor and the church. Sabbaticals are also of great benefit to the pastor in renewing them physically, spiritually, and vocationally. Churches, universities, and even more businesses are seeing the benefits of sabbaticals. But sabbaticals are also healthy for the congregation. Members may find new ways to serve and utilize their spiritual gifts in serving each other. And by investing in their pastor for the long haul it promotes a healthy and stable congregation and prevents pastoral turnover due to burnout.
When will the sabbatical be? The current plan is May15 to August 15.
How long will the sabbatical be? The sabbatical will be for three months.
Will Pastor Carlos be paid during this time? Yes. The church will continue pay and benefits.
Does this mean Pastor Carlos is leaving the church?
No. The purpose of a sabbatical is not for pastoral transition to another job, but for rest and renewal. Sabbaticals tend to make the relationships of pastor and congregation healthier, more sustainable and more fruitful.
What does Carlos have planned for the sabbatical?
Carlos continues to plan out the various elements of the sabbatical as the time draws closer. The sabbatical will include time simply to rest (to cease is the Biblical meaning of Sabbath), time for family renewal, and time for professional revitalization. Currently, Carlos is scheduled to go to Israel for the first two weeks in June. In addition to spending time in Jerusalem while he is there, he will be making a spiritual pilgrimage on foot from Nazareth to Capernaum. Additionally, Carlos has a trip to California planned with his wife, Leigh Ellen in late May. Carlos will be taking other spiritual and silent retreats throughout the summer in order to pray, read and seek God’s face. Stay tuned for more information as the sabbatical draws closer.
How will the church function while Carlos is gone?
Redeemer is overseen by a plurality of elders. They will continue to provide spiritual shepherding and oversight to the church during this time. Additionally, this will be a great opportunity for the congregation to grow. A congregation can become overly dependent on their pastor. It is important for congregations to rediscover how members can be serving and leading in new ways. Regarding preaching duties, the Elders will be drawing on a number of ordained PCA Pastors to fill the pulpit in Carlos’ absence.
Stay tuned for more information as the sabbatical draws nearer.