Information about Pastor Ed’s Sabbatical in July
When I was hired as Pastor in 2009, part of the agreement was to have the Pastor / Elder take a Sabbatical every five years that he serves at Pleasant View Baptist Church. The elders have given Diane and I the opportunity to take a month long Sabbatical – July 1st – 31st. I will try to answer a few questions about the upcoming Sabbatical
Why is it important to give the Pastor / Elder a Sabbatical?
According to statistics from Barna Research, Focus on the Family, and Fuller Seminary, almost 1500 pastors leave their ministry positions each month due to spiritual burnout, moral failures, or issues within the church. 80% of pastors feel discouraged in their roles. 50% of pastors say they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a living. 80% of seminary and Bible school graduates leave the ministry within the first 5 years. 70% of pastors constantly fight depression. Only 1 out of 10 pastors retire as a pastor.
I share those statistics not to alarm you about my condition personally, but to let you know that leading a church as the lead Pastor is a challenging and daunting task. With the onset of COVID and all that occurred because of it, it has been a challenging two and a half years. Major decisions were made weekly to protect our flock, to care for our flock remotely, livestream preparation, etc. That happened in addition to the time before and after COVID, we had regular ministry programming to staff and execute.
The spiritual leaders of our church and our church family has made our time serving at Pleasant View a time of absolute joy. It has been the best place we have ministered at in our over 35 years of ministry. That is why it is valuable for us to take a break and be a rejuvenated Pastor for the future this time of joyful service to our church family and community.
What is a Sabbatical and what it is not? First of all, it is not just an extended vacation. I will still have the four weeks of vacation, (I have already used one week in March), that is part of our employee policy so this time off for Sabbatical is in addition to those four weeks I have for vacation for the calendar year of 2022.
Second, a Sabbatical is for the rest, reenergizing and refocusing of the Pastor. It is a time to set aside the responsibilities, meetings, preaching and teaching to rest, to commune with God in deeper ways, and allow God to speak in new and fresh ways. Third, it is time away with a plan. First of all, a Sabbatical is a time to be with family and spend time as a couple uninterrupted.
Second, it is a time for focused study. I am going to be reading and studying about discipleship and how specifically, we can be more intentional through our church leadership to make disciples who in turn make more disciples.
Third, Diane and I will be going to a Pastor’s Retreat in Buchanan, Michigan for one week and it will be a time to talk with trained counselors to tune up areas of our marriage, improve our emotional state, and prepare us for our future in ministry. It will be a time to be with several other ministry couples in fellowship in the evenings.
Fourth, it will be a time to get more sleep and lengthier times of rest. It is like taking off the yoke of work for a month and then coming back at the end of that month, refreshed, reenergized and refocused, ready to pick up the yoke of work once again and be filled with passion to do what was learned on the Sabbatical.
Fifth, it is a time to get together with our children and grandkids to make special memories together this summer.
Sixth, the church family has a focus during the Pastor’s Sabbatical as well. Austin Fink will be preaching on July 3rd and 17th. Aaron Barfels will be preaching on July 24th and Mike Curtis, from Pine Lake Camp will be at Pleasant View speaking on July 10th. The elders and deacons will be available to care for any needs of the church family while Diane and I are on Sabbatical. Please call one of the elders or deacons if you have a need or call the church office at 563-332-5233 and Carrie Barfels, our Church Office Administrator, will direct your need to someone who can best serve you.
As a sidenote, as Pastor, I try to build into our yearly schedule two months of rest from activities as much as we can. January and July are those months we have purposely not scheduled much for the month of July outside of our Worship Services, Connect Groups and Children and Teens Sunday School on Sunday mornings.
How to Pray
In closing, I ask that you pray for Diane and I as we are away from our normal ministry responsibilities for the month of July.
Pray that it will truly be a restful time away and a time for Diane and I to enjoy quality time together.
Pray we will also have time to make great memories with our kids and grandkids as we enjoy time at Wisconsin Dells together.
Pray as I read and study about discipleship for our church and how we can be more effective in this very important area of helping people intentionally be more like Christ and making other disciples.
Pray that the things I receive from my times with the Lord will be translated into application when I return at the end of July.
Pray that we will gain insight on how to sharpen our ministry tools at the Pastor’s Retreat in mid – July.
Pray that Diane and I will come back ready to go and start a new chapter in ministry as we approach the fall season when our full ministry schedule starts up once again.
Pray for safe travels as we go to Michigan, Wisconsin and Florida during the month of July.
Pray for the elders, deacons, Austin, and Carrie as they lead in my absence. I know they will lead well and do an amazing job while I am away.
Pray that all will go well with our church family during the month of July. Finally, thanks for all your support and encouragement. I can’t tell you how much it means to me and my family to have this opportunity. It’s a true joy and honor to be your pastor, and I can’t wait to see what God has in store for the future of Pleasant View Baptist Church
Love you Church,
Pastor Ed and Diane Hedding