Posted in Executive Pastor

Wins and Mistakes in Planning Sabbaticals

If you’re lucky enough to earn a sabbatical, you want to make sure you take advantage of it. I’ve taken a sabbatical, but most of my opinions about them have been formed by talking to other ministers who came back from theirs and realized it wasn’t maximized, or was used the wrong way.

As a free resource, you can view Brentwood Baptist’s documents related to sabbaticals, including these forms: Educational Assistance and Sabbatical Overview, Sabbatical Request, Sabbatical Proposal, and Sabbatical Report on my resources page.

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Why You Should Waste Church Resources

©ImagePixel/ Dollar Photo Club

It’s hard to walk away from something that’s taken a significant investment of time and resources. But I’m learning in my position as executive pastor (and it’s likely applicable for other ministry leadership positions), the investment of time into things that never see the light of day is actually me doing my job effectively.

I assume all leaders are frustrated by sunk costs. But, as ministry leaders, should we not embrace them? Or at least embrace the process which often leads to them?

Last year, I was significantly involved in two minister searches for our church. Each process took more than four months. It included countless calls, flying to their homes, and flying them to our church. I’d count up the hours I spent in this process, but it might make me nauseous. When we got down to the last stage of selection, it was determined the match wasn’t best. All the work invested tempted me to pull the trigger anyway… “I can’t walk away from this, I have too much invested.” But we knew something wasn’t right. We didn’t feel this was what God had for us, or for the candidate. It was hard for all involved, but I’m confident the time and resources of the selection process helped us avoid the wrong hire.

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This Is Not My Favorite Thing To Do

©Mat Hayward / Dollar Photo Club

We all have tasks we don’t like in our life. Or, as I teach my kids to say about foods they don’t like — “it’s not my favorite.”

I did a ministry task this week I didn’t like. What about you? What church or ministry task don’t you like?

My task: determining closure of offices, and cancellation of ministry opportunities and Sunday services due to inclement weather.

Three days of ice and sub-20 degree temps is a big deal in middle Tennessee. Did I mention a closure meant closing our doors to our wonderful ministry partner, Room in the Inn, a housing option for the homeless in our city? Shutting down the offices is one thing, but shutting down ministry is another. Also, did I mention it was the cancellation of Sunday services at our highest attended campus?

There was a lot at stake: homeless individuals needing shelter, eager volunteers, lost work, safety, liability, financial losses… I grew up in southern Arizona – I’m not equipped to make these decisions.

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