A Sabbatical Primer for Pastors: How to Initiate and Navigate a Spiritual Renewal Leave


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by David C. Alves. Paupakpress, 2014.

“It took a mini-stroke, a mass exodus and a spiritual winter to get my attention - and my congregation’s,” writes David Alves. He requested and received a 6-month sabbatical from day-to-day ministry that provided essential rest and renewal. Today, this veteran pastor is a staunch advocate for practices and policies that ensure sabbaticals for every pastor throughout his or her ministry. Alves discusses what a sabbatical is and isn’t, and explains why sabbaticals are necessary for pastoral and congregational health. He addresses common fears about maintaining ministry in the pastor’s absence and how to plan for funding. He also provides thinking points on key decisions, such as when to be gone and for how long. He even has suggestions on what to do. The appendix includes a how-to on creating a Life Mission Statement. This slim book is full of practical information and the fruit of hard-won experience.

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