Why Every Pastor Needs a Sabbatical

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”  In Matthew chapter 11 we are given this amazing promise. When we are feeling way over our heads, we can turn to God for rest. But sometimes it’s our pastors that need rest. As we take this month out to look at Rest, Renewal, and Reflection, we talked to one of our church planters about his recent sabbatical. Noah Filipiak is the pastor of Crossroads Church in Lansing, MI and recently just ended a sabbatical. You can read specifically about his personal sabbatical at his blog www.cutthereligiouscheese.com. But for a brief glimpse at what Noah learned in his sabbatical, I got a chance to ask him 5 quick questions.

: How long was your sabbatical?
A: I took a three month sabbatical throughout the months of June, July and August.

: What was your #1 Goal in taking a sabbatical?
A: To recharge my batteries emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. To avoid burnout and to be refreshed for a new season of ministry.

:What were the top three things you could take away from your sabbatical?
A: The first is how important sabbaticals are.  Every pastor needs to take them at least every 7 years.  I feel like a new person and a new pastor ready for a new season of ministry, rather than slugging it out for yet another week.  Specifically, God revealed to me the need for leadership development in my church. I now have 8 people involved in an intensive leadership development program I am leading.  God also revealed to me his desire for Crossroads to become a multi-ethnic church.

: What would you do differently on your next sabattical?
A: We took too many vacations in June.  Our families knew I would be on sabbatical so we took a vacation with my side of the family and with my wife’s, on their request.  It was too much travel in a short time frame and took away from the intentional sabbatical time I wanted to take.

: Did you receive or apply for any grants for your sabbatical?
A: No.  My church was supportive of my sabbatical and paid my entire salary over the 3 months. 


For more information on retreat centers click here. 

Also check out the following websites that offer Sabbatical Grants.

For grant information from the Louisville institute click here

For grant information from the Lilly Endowment click here.



Church Health, Sabbatical, Church Planting