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SKMB Sabbatical Two | SKMB

SKMB Sabbatical Two

We got home on August 1, after our three-month sabbatical and have been slowly adjusting from sabbatical life to the "real world." The overwhelming emotion we have had as we settle back into home and life is gratefulness. Our sabbatical was one of those life experiences our family will never forget for all the right reasons. We are thankful, rested, and ready to rock and roll. 

Before I left I wrote about five things we did to help us plan our sabbatical to ensure our family got the most out of it. Now on the other side of our sabbatical, I want to share four lessons I learned about sabbaticals that I hope will help you prepare if you are considering one in the future. 

1. Don't Blink.

Call me naive, but I didn't expect our sabbatical to go as quickly as it did. The longer we were away, the faster time seemed to go. Because of this, we didn't get to experience everything we had hoped for. Sadly, this meant I only got to one Baseball game (Bailey wasn't disappointed about this at all). 

If there are people, places, or things you want to see or experience during your sabbatical, we encourage you to create a calendar and get items pencilled in on dates. Don't let the time crunch become a chopping block to times your sabbatical hopes and dreams. 

2. Invest Time And Energy Into Counselling. 

This was one thing I had planned going into our sabbatical, which was so helpful. It's incredible the emotions and experiences that come up in your life as you slow down and rest and how useful it was to have a counsellor to walk with me as I processed it all. As great as personal counselling was and is, getting marriage counselling during our sabbatical was even more critical. 

We didn't start to get marriage counselling until the end of our sabbatical, and if we could go back, it would be something we would have started before we left. The reality is, all of our marriages could use a check-up. Use the time you and your spouse have during a sabbatical to roll up the sleeves and work on your marriage.

3. Develop A Re-entry Plan. 

Coming back from your sabbatical to real life can be like getting whiplash, so I would encourage you to develop a re-entry plan into ministry that won't hurt you or your church. I got this advice from a pastor friend returning from a sabbatical. His encouragement was to re-enter ministry at a pace that is sustainable slowly. 

My re-entry plan had me slowly getting back up to full-time hours, which meant for the first week, I mainly worked half days as I got caught up with what had taken place over the past 3 months. The second week, I worked full-time hours and continued to follow up on what I had missed and begin to prepare to preach again. My third week back mainly was back to my usual weekly rhythms. 

I could not recommend this enough and would strongly recommend that you and your team develop a re-entry plan.

4. Don't Feel Guilty About Resting. 

Going from a very active schedule to rest was difficult for my wife, Bailey, and me. I know we both felt our first month of the sabbatical was disorienting. A counsellor can help you process this more, but I think it's important to know and be ok with resting. It's ok to sleep or have naps. It's ok not to have any plans for the day and hang out at home. You are in a season of rest; the sooner you embrace that, the more restful it will be. 

- Luke Etelamaki, SKMB Church Multiplication Team

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