A Sabbatical Primer for Churches: How to Love and Honor the Pastor God Has Given You

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By David and Marcy Alves

How many years has your pastor served in ministry? How are the pastor and pastoral family doing? Do you realize that those with the pastoral calling are "gifts" to you and the body of Christ? How are you loving and honoring that gift from Christ--your pastor? How have you thanked him/her for the self-sacrifice and faithful service?

More churches than ever are looking for help initiating and navigating a ministry sabbatical for their pastor(s). Many of those churches have realized that "healthy churches are led by healthy leaders." They have been led of the Spirit to love, esteem, and honor their pastor (and pastoral family).

This primer comes alongside the church, providing the rationale, the path, and the means for successfully initiating and navigating a spiritual renewal leave--a Sabbatical--for their beloved pastor(s) and pastoral family. This book is a companion to "A Sabbatical Primer for Pastors: How to Initiate and Navigate a Spiritual Renewal Leave."


What is a ministry sabbatical or spiritual renewal leave?

Why does my pastor need a ministry sabbatical?

How will a ministry sabbatical benefit our church

Who needs a sabbatical

When should my pastor take a sabbatical

How long should a sabbatical be? What's the criteria

Where can we find the guidance and resources to plan and carry out a sabbatical

How do we begin

What do we do, or what steps do we take before, during, and after the sabbatical?


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" church members have regarding sabbaticals

Helpful tools in the appendices, along with other samples of proposals, letters, and a an article on the need for ministry sabbaticals

Encouragement for those who find the whole idea to be overwhelming

Five testimonies of pastor's wives as to how the sabbatical benefited the church, the family, and the pastor

A starting point for sabbatical policies, housing, funding sources, and other helpful information to assist in planning the pastoral sabbatical

Helps for the church to understand the need of a pastoral renewal leave-a ministry sabbatical