WHY A SABBATICAL?
Church “Staff” ministry is unlike any other profession on planet earth. We lead as one who will give an account to God almighty. A sabbatical is not in response to a crisis/sin/burn out/etc...but a rhythm of working and resting we see modeled in the scriptures. With the long game in mind, we aim to equip our ministers to finish well and have seasons of deep soul work. Stats of pastors retiring as pastors are quite alarming. We want to do all possible to cultivate character and remember our first love! Abiding and resting, exercised and lived out, not just preached about. Practicing rest and the discipline that God is leading and He will build His church is an intangible/tangible reality. This gives our ministers time to do deep soul-work, which is often the slow-work. A period of time to work on inner life ministry more than the outer/public ministry. Ministers have the space to develop deep wells of soul work that are not tied to performance and trust that “it is good and It is Finished.”
HOW LONG ARE PASTOR JEROME & HIS FAMILY ON SABBATICAL?
They are on Sabbatical from June 1 - Aug 31. They have been leading for 7 years full time at City Life. This is a good thing and part of the healthy plan we long to see for all of our City Life staff leadership team. We look forward to them coming back and so do they. Also, our Worship leaders Rob & Christina and their kids will be on Sabbatical too from July 1-July 31st. Jesus will keep building His Church like He does best! And the church said…Amen!
WHAT IS THE PLAN FOR CITY LIFE DURING OUR PASTOR’S SABBATICAL?
We have incredible leaders here who will be serving as they do weekly. So on that front nothing changes. But we will also have several other senior pastors coming in to help with Speaking on Sundays, Staff Formation throughout the week, and also provide counsel as needed. There is a calendar plan, care strategy, and (hopefully, never need to exercise it) a crisis plan in place.
WHAT WILL OUR LEADERS DO ON A SABBATICAL?
A helpful strategy we are modeling is Play, Pray, Prepare.
Play - A time where you can enjoy the gifts of God and not be working on public ministry initiatives and simply enjoy time to enjoy God’s gift of life like a child at play.
Pray - A time to be in the wilderness with God and work on the depths of inner soul work, training resources, solitude, and prayer.
Prepare - A time where you gear up and prepare for the season ahead in ministry being faithful to God’s word, work, and his people.
WHAT IS OUR SABBATICAL PLAN AND LENGTH FOR OUR STAFF?
Our full-time staff will take 1-6 months and our part-time staff will take 1-2 months every 7 years for a sabbatical.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS CITY LIFE WILL EXPERIENCE DURING THIS SABBATICAL?
There are many tangible and intangible benefits but here are 3 to highlight:
We remember that God is building His Church.
We exercise the truth that we are not a personality driven church.
Other leaders have a season to step up in new, fresh ways.
SHOULD I TAKE A SABBATICAL?
By all means, if you are ever able to in life, that could be very beneficial for anyone, as we are all in ministry daily. Our first priority is to BE WITH JESUS. However, the reality is that an extended sabbatical may be difficult for everyone to have the opportunity, but the goal would be that we all weekly have time to sabbath. When we receive sabbath rest God provides, we are obedient and enjoy Jesus. Rest is a gift God provides. We realize our limits. It is good, and God is God. We trust Him for our worth and the fruit of our work. And we practice knowing He is enough, we are enough, it is enough.
Hebrews 13:7-17 CSB
"7 Remember your leaders who have spoken God’s word to you. As you carefully observe the outcome of their lives, imitate their faith. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 9 Don’t be led astray by various kinds of strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be established by grace and not by food regulations, since those who observe them have not benefited. 10 We have an altar from which those who worship at the tabernacle do not have a right to eat. 11 For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the most holy place by the high priest as a sin offering are burned outside the camp. 12 Therefore, Jesus also suffered outside the gate, so that he might sanctify the people by his own blood. 13 Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing his disgrace. 14 For we do not have an enduring city here; instead, we seek the one to come. 15 Therefore, through him let us continually offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name. 16 Don’t neglect to do what is good and to share, for God is pleased with such sacrifices. 17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, since they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account, so that they can do this with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you."
John 15:4-6 ESV
"4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned."
Luke 5:15-16 CSB
"15 But the news about him spread even more, and large crowds would come together to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16 Yet he often withdrew to deserted places and prayed."
Leviticus 25:1-7 CSB
"1 The Lord spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai: 2 “Speak to the Israelites and tell them: When you enter the land I am giving you, the land will observe a Sabbath to the Lord. 3 You may sow your field for six years, and you may prune your vineyard and gather its produce for six years. 4 But there will be a Sabbath of complete rest for the land in the seventh year, a Sabbath to the Lord: you are not to sow your field or prune your vineyard. 5 You are not to reap what grows by itself from your crop, or harvest the grapes of your untended vines. It is to be a year of complete rest for the land. 6 Whatever the land produces during the Sabbath year can be food for you—for yourself, your male or female slave, and the hired worker or alien who resides with you. 7 All of its growth may serve as food for your livestock and the wild animals in your land."
Exodus 23:10-11 CSB
"10 “Sow your land for six years and gather its produce. 11 But during the seventh year you are to let it rest and leave it uncultivated, so that the poor among your people may eat from it and the wild animals may consume what they leave. Do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove."
1 Timothy 5:17-18 CSB
"17 The elders who are good leaders are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. 18 For the Scripture says: Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain, and, “The worker is worthy of his wages.”