What is the purpose or goal of pastor Luke's sabbatical?
- Retreat: a time to get away from normal work responsibilities.
- Rest: a time of true rest, of the body, mind, and soul.
- Revelation: a time to listen to God speak.
- Recalibration: a time to make healthy changes to the rhythm of life.
What is a ministerial sabbatical?
- An extended leave from ordinary work.
- A period of rest for the body, mind, and soul.
- A time for renewal and development of relationships, with God, spouse, and family.
Why is Luke taking a sabbatical?
“Pastors face a never-ending list of activities, counseling session, sermons and lesson plans, as well as civic and community outreach. Weddings, funerals and family tragedies at all hours of the day and night wear out these servants. Always in the spotlight, some ministers are barely holding on as they seek ways to survive, let alone thrive, in the midst of ministering in the 21st century. There is a certain “heaviness of the call” that often is not balanced with time for family, friends, hobbies and self - things that every human being needs.”
How long will the sabbatical last and what dates?
- The sabbatical will be for three (3) months.
- May 14th through August 14th.
Who is Luke accountable to during the sabbatical?
Pastor Luke has sought counsel from Dave Wiedis and will follow his direction in:
- Preparation of sabbatical (plan, timeline, etc.)
- Practices during sabbatical (reading books, meditating/praying, scripture reading, counseling sessions, etc.)
- Individual counseling, and counseling with my wife. (And probably family counseling sessions as well.)
- For more information about Dave Wiedis and his ministry visit: www.servingleaders.org
What is my role during the sabbatical?
- Pray, encourage, and support Luke, Anne and family
- Pray they experience true rest and a deeper connection with God and each other.
- Step-up so the church is strengthened during this time
- Attend regularly and invite others
- Give faithfully and generously
- Volunteer and serve consistently
- Continue to be the church
- Respect the Stockeland family boundaries
- We will not be accessing phone calls, email, or social media.
- If there was a case of an extreme emergency or tragedy, we be there to support those in need.
- Submit to and support the leadership of Charles, Nathan, and deacons.
What are some common misconceptions about a ministerial sabbatical?
- It’s the same as a vacation. “Many may think this is just an extended vacation. However, a sabbatical differs significantly from a vacation in many aspects. It is a time of solitude with God, a respite for improving one’s health. It is not for career enhancement, for accomplishing intentional goals or objectives (such as continuing education, educational degrees or research for a paper or book), for being involved with more people or for reporting on one’s every move. It should be a time to truly and completely disconnect from routines, responsibilities and relationships.” - Focus on the Family.
- We can’t afford it. While ODC is continuing pastor Luke’s salary during the sabbatical, he is covering all the additional costs (travel, lodging, meals, etc.) Also, Charles salary will remain the same during this time and Nathan is volunteering as temporary assistant leader so there won’t be significant increase in operational or staffing costs (if any at all) during the sabbatical. AND, it may be more accurate to say we can’t afford NOT to as the cost of replacing leadership would have a much greater impact both financially and the spiritual health of the church.
- Pastor Luke might leave. God has not been leading Open Door Church nor Pastor Luke to part ways. On the contrary, this sabbatical is for the purpose of supporting long-term ministry health for both ODC and Pastor Luke.
What is Open Door Church's Sabbatical Policy?
- The Pastor is eligible for a sabbatical of up to three months after the first five years of full-time continuous service at Open Door. Subsequent sabbaticals will be considered after each five additional full years from last sabbatical completion.
Is ODC's sabbatical policy a new thing?
The policy has been in place for several years, however, this will be the first time in our church’s history that we are embracing it.
Who is leading while Luke is gone?
- Charles Gholson will be primary leader.
- Nathan Bivens has accepted a temporary assistant leadership role.
- The deacon team will continue their role of leadership assistance, fully supporting Charles and Nathan.
Who is preaching while Luke is gone?
- Luke, Charles, and Nathan have created a sermon plan for 2018.
- Charles and Nathan will do most of the preaching and may utilize others within ODC (who have preached before) to fill in a few Sundays.
HOW will the congregation be affected?
The congregation has a wonderful opportunity to grow through this time. There will be sustained, strong leadership in Charles and Nathan; this will allow the church to focus less on leaning on pastor Luke and more on the Lord and His Word; as well as gaining a greater perspective on church family, and how God wants the body of Christ to function.
HOW IS THE CHURCH PREPARING FOR THE SABBATICAL?
- Comprehensive plans for Sunday school and sermon series through 2018.
- The planning and communicating of roles and responsibilities for during the sabbatical.
- Making some gradual changes in the months leading up to sabbatical to allow for smoother transition.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN WHEN PASTOR LUKE RETURNS?
There will be a transition time where pastor Luke will be reintegrated to his pastoral position and duties by:
- Meeting with Charles, Nathan, and deacons to hear a report of how things went.
- Giving a report to church leadership about his experience during the sabbatical.
- Resuming preaching shortly after his return.
- Communicating to church about the sabbatical experience: via email and personal report during October’s ministry meeting.
- Generally, it will be:
- Week one - 50% load.
- No preaching/teaching.
- Participate in staff meeting.
- Hear updates from Charles and Nathan.
- Report to Charles, Nathan, and deacons.
- Week two - 75% load.
- Prepare for re-engaging with preaching/teaching in week three.
- Begin transition of responsibilities from Charles and Nathan to pastor Luke.
- Week three - 100% load.
- Resume preaching/teaching ministry and schedule.
- Resume full workload/hours.
- Week one - 50% load.
For more information about ministerial sabbaticals: