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Sabbatical Resource Guide

Sabbatical Resource Guide

As an encouragement for parishes and vestries to be proactive in the care of their priests and clergy, ADOTS is offering this guide as a starting point to research and implement sabbatical practices. Please see our article “A Case for Sabbaticals: Does Your Priest Need One?” for an example of a successful sabbatical in our diocese.

Focus on the Family has produced this comprehensive Sabbatical PDF guide, including information on:

  • How a ministry sabbatical is different from a traditional academic sabbatical
  • The Biblical precedent and foundation for sabbaticals
  • When it is – or isn’t – appropriate to take a sabbatical
  • Abundant benefits for pastors and parishes
  • Tips for planning a successful sabbatical, including financing, defining vestry and parishioner roles, and pastor accountability
  • Practical points on preparing the church and pastor beforehand, church function during, and reconnecting/debriefing after the sabbatical
  • Encouragement for vestries to develop their own sabbatical policies.

Wheat Ridge Ministries has compiled a number of downloadable Word documents, addressing spiritual and practical points on planning sabbaticals, including:

  • Questions for the Leader. A page of questions to help pastors envision their sabbatical and identify goals and values.
  • Questions for the Congregation. Excellent questions for vestries to consider in sabbatical planning: Everything from “Do we have proper trust in our relationship to approve a sabbatical?” to “How will we handle emergency situations?”
  • Policy Development and Best Practices. Details for vestries or task force teams to include and consider – such as who is eligible for sabbaticals, the importance of early planning, and helpful insights into the planning process.

Financial Resources for Sabbaticals

The Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Program offers grants of up to $50,000 to as many as 125 congregations annually, strictly for the rest and renewal of clergy. The site also offers a PDF on how to craft a high-quality grant proposal for sabbatical funding.

Although for sabbatical research and not rest, the Louisville Institute Pastoral Study Project offers grants up to $15,000 for independent study of a “pressing and significant question for the life of faith.”

This Church Law and Tax article details the tax implication sabbatical funding can have for the pastor and church.