"Supporting SKMB Churches and Camps in making disciples."


What is a sabbatical?

The word sabbatical has its roots in the biblical concept of the ’Sabbath’. In its simplest Old Testament form, to enter Sabbath meant that after a period of six days of labor a person was to spend one day reconnecting with God (Exodus 20:8-11). God himself set this pattern during creation (Genesis 2:1-3).

A sabbatical is not a vacation or some form of medical or stress leave but a deliberate period set aside to step out of one’s routine work and engage in activities that rejuvenate their body, spirit and mind. A sabbatical is a ‘ceasing’ for the specific purpose of rest and renewal.

What is the purpose of a sabbatical?

  • Rest
  • Renewal
  • Reflection
  • Refocusing
  • Refreshing
  • Reaffirmation
  • Reexamination
  • Relationship building
  • Professional development
  • Exploration
  • Spiritual reengagement

Why a sabbatical?

Granting church pastors and camp directors a sabbatical is a significant way churches and camps can invest in the long-term well-being of their leaders.

By offering sabbaticals to staff, churches and camps recognize the personal weight pastors and directors carry in fulfilling their leadership roles. It is an expression of care. They understand that an extended period of rest for their leaders will reap benefits for their ministry.

Some positive outcomes of sabbaticals include refreshed and refocused leaders, the opportunity for people within the church or camp to exercise new leadership skills, a fresh infusion of ideas and reinvigorated ministry.

Each sabbatical is unique. A successful sabbatical is truly in the eyes of the beholder. What one person needs from this time of ceasing is different from any other individual.

Elements of successful sabbatical planning:

  • PRAYER – successful sabbaticals are bathed in prayer.
  • GUIDANCE – successful sabbaticals are shaped by a sound sabbatical policy and sabbatical covenant.
  • PREPARATION – successful sabbaticals are planned up to a year in advance.
  • RESOURCING – successful sabbaticals involve experienced consultants and a sabbaticals mentor.
  • ADAPTATION – successful sabbaticals are flexible to the needs of all stakeholders.
  • COMMUNICATION – successful sabbaticals involve early, on-going and clear communication to all stakeholders.

What do people do on sabbaticals?

  • Deepen their walk with God through focused times of prayer, fasting, meditation and the study of the Scriptures. 
  • Participate in professional development courses. 
  • Travel to Israel or visit missionaries in fields overseas or explore ministry with para-church organizations. 
  • Engage in an activity that rejuvenates them, like writing or running in a marathon. 
  • Renew relationships with family and friends that may have suffered because of one’s commitment to work. 
  • Engage in intensive physical exercise regimes that enable them to lose weight, strengthen muscles and increase a feeling of well-being.

How can the SKMB resource you as a church or camp in matters pertaining to sabbaticals?

  • The Director of Ministry has written on the theory and logistics of sabbaticals and assisted organizations in setting them up for their leaders. He is available to consult with your church or camp.
  • The SKMB office can provide sabbatical covenant templates and sabbatical policy templates for your church or camp to use.
  • The SKMB office can link your church or camp to individuals and organizations who have gone through the sabbatical process.
  • The SKMB office can assist churches and camps in finding interim staff while their leaders are on sabbatical.

Sabbatical Brochure coverClick here to download our brochure.


One church's experience

The Leadership Team at Hepburn MB Church reassigned the duties of Associate Pastor Greg Klassen, and starting March 17th Greg was given the opportunity to change his daily rhythms and routines with the goal of returning to regular duties as a rejuvenated and improved form of himself.  This included taking time to study both in a formal setting (seminary class) and informally by setting aside time to dig into God’s Word and other reading.  Greg returned on June 17th, debriefed over the next month and is now integrating the things that God taught him during his time away. 

 The church is excited to have Greg back... he was missed – especially by the Youth!


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