Pastoral Care is an important part of the ministry of the pastor and the church. It is vital to the church to understand that the role of pastoral care isn’t just toward the members of the church but also toward their pastoral staff. Taking good care of your pastor is good for the pastor and his family and also good for the church.
One way to take care of the mental, spiritual, and physical needs of your pastor is to offer him a sabbatical. A sabbatical is a time set aside for the pastor to reset mentally and recharge spiritually. That time must be more than a week, because it takes more than a week away to effectively rest and let go of burdens. Part of that time should be spent in study, reading, learning, and setting direction for the future.
We believe that every church should establish a good set of sabbatical policies for your church staff. The church should not only plan for the absence of the pastor for at least 4 weeks, but should also provide some financial help to allow the pastor to take part in helpful activities during the sabbatical. It would probably be wise to contribute on a yearly basis to a sabbatical that may only come every 7 years.
This page is an ongoing source of references and resources for the pastor or church considering a sabbatical policy for their church. There are online articles and downloadable resources here. If you need help or counsel in putting together a policy feel free to contact UBA anytime.