Going on Sabbatical

It was announced at the April 9 Congregational meeting that the elders at RMPC have decided to award Pastor Phil a three-month sabbatical leave. Two of these months occur in 2017 and one month will occur in 2018. Pastor Phil will not have any official duties at RMPC from June 12 to August 14, 2017.

Why does Pastor Phil need a sabbatical leave?

Sabbatical defined: A ministry sabbatical is a release from the routine of the call. It allows for the physical, emotional, spiritual, and intellectual well-being of the ministry leader.

The rapid change and complexity of church life and ministry raises the need for three months of sabbatical rest and renewal every four to seven years. At any given time, 20% to 30% of ministry leaders are in a state of severe burnout. Another 20% of the same audience is on the way to severe burnout.

Authors of Clergy Renewal: The Alban Guide to Sabbatical Planning suggest the following motivations for considering a ministry sabbatical.

  • Continual spiritual growth aided by periods of rest and renewal is vital toward being an effective minister.
  • Pastoral responsibilities are not contained within normal office hours and regularly involve weekends.
  • Burnout makes ministry and the minister, dull, hollow, and dry.
  • Churches can examine their dependency on the ministry leader. They may consider expanding the roles of lay leaders.


What will Pastor Phil do?

The elders have approved a reading list of around a dozen books that Pastor Phil chose. He will work through the books in those three months. The books have to do with pastoral ministry, the Holy Spirit, and the book of 1 Corinthians. He will read four books on pastoral ministry to grow as a pastor. He will read the books on 1 Corinthians to prepare to preach on 1 Corinthians from August ’17 to April ’18. He will read books on the Holy Spirit out of a desire to know him and follow his lead better.

‘Sabbatical’ comes from the Hebrew word ‘Sabbath’ which means rest. He will use the time to rest and find renewal in Christ. He will travel 6 out of the eight weeks he is gone this summer. He will spend a week relaxing and reading on the beach in Mexico, a couple of weeks in California, and a couple of weeks in NM and Colorado. He also hopes to finish writing a manual for pre-marital counseling. Please pray that my time is restorative and profitable for Rincon Mountain Presbyterian Church and the kingdom of God.