Ten years ago, following the recommendation of the Alberta Baptist Association and the North American Baptist Conference, South Calgary Community Church adopted a policy to provide a three month sabbatical for our ministry staff every seven years.

We are pleased to announce that Pastor Sam is in his seventh year of ministry at South Calgary and will be on Sabbatical from July 1 through September 30. He will combine this with four weeks of vacation and be out of the office June – September.

“Why a sabbatical?”

Sabbaticals are based on the Biblical idea of sabbath. God established a rhythm of work and rest into all creation. From the beginning, God declared His intention of sabbath by resting on the seventh day. When God brought His people out of Egypt, the Sabbath was the second command He gave them (Exodus 16) and was linked to creation.

Additionally, in Leviticus 25 God established a sabbath year where there was to be no tilling of the fields or tending the vines. The land was to be allowed a sabbath year, which also provided the people with a sabbath year.

Though our general culture does not recognize, or allow for sabbaticals, there is an undeniable rhythm of work and rest established by God. It seems to be built into the DNA of all creation.

The Purpose of a Sabbatical

The intent of the Sabbath is to take a break from the routine and allow for physical, emotional and spiritual rest and renewal. Every vocation, has some form of stress; either physical, mental, emotional or spiritual (most likely, each job has some aspect of all four stresses). Pastoral ministry is very high on the spiritual stress. A sabbath allows for an intentional time of spiritual refreshment that cannot happen during the routine of church ministry.

Benefits of Sabbaticals

Sabbaticals are beneficial for both the pastor and the church. In the past, pastors typically transitioned from church to church every five to seven years. The ABA has found churches which provide sabbaticals have less turnover of pastors and are overall, healthier churches.

Pastors return from a sabbatical spiritually healthier, better rested, and reinvigorated for ministry.

Sabbaticals at South Calgary

Contrary to some thoughts, a sabbatical is not a code word for “more vacation.” Our ministry staff, prior to going on a sabbatical, must:

– attend a sabbatical workshop hosted by the ABA

– present a sabbatical proposal to the Human Resources Team

– receive approval for the sabbatical from the HR Team

The proposal includes:

– plans for rest (physical and emotional)

– plans for spiritual renewal

– a study component

– an accountability structure during the sabbatical

– plans to ensure ministry is not neglected while on sabbatical

Please pray for Pastor Sam and Ali as they prepare for Sam’s sabbatical. Pray that they will receive the physical, emotional and spiritual renewing necessary to continue effective ministry at South Calgary for many more years.