I recently went to a conference and one of the classes was on taking a “Sabbatical Day.” It was a remarkable class for me; I was challenged to rethink my relationship with the Lord and to consider taking a “Sabbatical Day” occasionally. Most of you know that I spend part of every Friday rethinking my week and what my relationship with the Lord was like during the week. In fact, I wrote an article (Your Most Important Conversation) regarding this activity several months ago.
A few of our pastors have been blessed with a Sabbatical leave. Some are given a month and a few even longer. For me that just does not work, but I can occasionally get away for a day. The premise for this time is found in John 15:5, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing”. In our situations we need to work at abiding in Christ, for without that we can become stagnant and lose our vitality for ministry. Here are a few thoughts from the seminar:
Preparing for your Sabbatical Day
Go to your calendar and select a day. In fact, select that day and then go to some future months and select a number of other days.
Reserve that day and really reserve that day, if you know what I mean. It is so easy to let something else take that day away.
Have a pre-sabbatical meeting with someone that will hold you accountable. Talk about what you will be doing during your Sabbatical Day. Where will you spend the day? (Not in the office or at home.) What will you do? What do you expect to get out of this time?
Your Sabbatical Day
Begin by reading Scripture. This reading is not to do sermon preparation. This reading is an opportunity for God to speak fresh and anew to us.
Pray, seek God’s face anew. What do you need to say to me, God? How am I to readjust my ministry goals? What do I need to do new or maybe stop doing?
Begin to read the book that you have been trying to read for the last month.
God wants to make you fresh and we can easily get stale. When we get stale our ministry becomes stale.
Make sure that you have a pen and a journal to write down what God may be saying to you during this time.
Lord will you be my vision, Lord will you be my guide?
Be my hope, be my life, and the way.
And I’ll look not for riches, nor praises on earth, only you’ll be King of my life!
At the end of the day write a one paragraph reminder on the things God impressed on you during the day. What do I need to do? What do I need to stop doing? These things can be in your spiritual life, church life or personal life.
After your Sabbatical Day
Have a debriefing meeting with your accountability partner. Don’t make it some ultra formal thing; it is an opportunity to share your heart and thoughts with a person of flesh, just like you.
I hope you can have a happy Sabbatical Day.