The Gift of Time

Regional Minister’s Thoughts
Originally Published in the December 2018 edition of the Kansas Messenger
Written by Regional Minister Renee Bridwell

Sabbatical is a gift of time – holy time for rest and renewal, as put forth in the Biblical descriptions of Sabbath. The richness of Sabbath is not only rest for people one day a week; it is extended to rest for the livestock and fallow years for the land.

For clergy, sabbatical is typically three months after 5 or 6 years of service: time for rest, renewal, and study; time to step back from the dailiness of ministry demands in order to gain the perspective of distance and to refresh one’s enthusiasm for ministry.

For the congregation, sabbatical is an opportunity for current leaders to enhance their hands-on leadership skills and for new leaders to be developed. All who are involved will develop clearer understanding of the congregation’s ministry. Sabbatical is a renewal period that often leads to a longer, richer relationship between pastor and congregation, and longer ministries in turn tend to correlate with stronger, healthier congregations. Sabbatical policies typically include the provision that the pastor-congregation continues for at least one year, so that both parties enjoy the benefits of renewal together.

To learn more about a sabbatical policy for your congregation, contact any member of regional staff.

One further note: this year, Regional Minister Ken Marston was on sabbatical May — July and as I write this, I am half-way through my sabbatical. The unexpected part is that Regional Minister Steve Martin needed medical leave from mid-May through September. This year has been interesting! Early in the new year, all staff will meet with our Regional Board Moderator and Personnel Committee chairperson to share what we’ve learned. The Vision Team will be able to take it all into consideration as they dig deeper into the shape of regional ministry in this new day.

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