A Gift to our Pastor

After 12 years of service to our Lord & 10 years of service to this congregation, we are giving our preaching pastor a long overdue sabbatical.  Pastor Bob will take his first sabbatical from January 1 to June 31, 2014.


Sabbatical Basics

Every 5-7 years it is recommended that the pastor take a sabbatical.  The extent is preferred to be 12 months (Biblically speaking), but most churches usually cannot do that.  So it typically is a 3-6 month sabbatical every 5-7 years.  This is fully paid, so as not to be a burden but a blessing to our pastor & free him completely of concerns so that he may rest & refresh during this time.


The Goal is Rest

It comes from the word “sabbath” which means “rest”.  This should be the main focus. One way to accomplish this would be to “lay fallow”.


Not a Vacation

This should not be misunderstood to be an extended vacation.  It is provided as a much needed gift for rest & restoration. This is an investment into the ministry of the church… not just time off for the pastor.  Our pastor is free to use this time to get away by himself, or with his wife, family, etc.


Suggested Use 

“Lay Fallow”.  No ministry responsibilities.  Seek other churches to attend during this time. Suggested – Seek out some sort of counseling and/or other enrichment venues (personal/marital) to nurture yourself & your marriage. Rest – Spiritual refreshment & renewal. Pastoral Ministry Expense Account is to be used for getaways, events, books, etc.


Congregation’s Role 

While the pastor is on sabbatical, leaders of the church fill in some of his duties. Pastor Jason will be responsible for finding fill-in preachers to provide sermons, or may deliver sermons themselves. Deacons and other church members should perform the other tasks performed by the pastor, such as visiting sick people in the hospital, grieving families, providing counsel, etc. It is the congregation’s responsibility to treat the pastor as another church member and not to call on him to perform his pastoral duties. As church members perform some of the pastor’s duties, they gain a new insight into all the work he does for the congregation.


Who Should I Contact?

Please contact the following person for the appropriate need.  If you are unsure, please feel free to contact the church office: 608-745-4040.

Church Office:

Doctrine & Theology:



Children & Family:

First Impressions:

First Impressions:



Can I Contact Pastor Bob?

Sorry, but Bob’s sabbatical is a time for a complete break from his duties as our pastor. The network described above will deal with all routine matters, and almost every emergency matter, that might arise. Therefore, the only one authorized to contact Bob during this time is Pastor Jason.  Please feel free to contact Jason, any of the deacons listed above, or the church office with any questions or help that you may need: 608-745-4040.


Interesting Ideas for Sabbatical Use

Some pastors spent a lot of time alone.
Some traveled with & without family.
Some had romantic retreats just with wife.
Some took on another job for fun, not ministry related.
Some took a course or taught at seminaries.
Some wrote… blogging or a book.
Some received personal counseling.
Some received marriage counseling.
Pastor Bob will also be researching other ideas for his time away.


Planning Time

Throughout the rest of the month of December, Bob will be relieved from all preaching & teaching duties so he can invest his full work time to tying up loose ends with ministry needs, office work, website information, finding pulpit supply preachers, etc. as well as planning out his sabbatical ideas in more detail.  Please continue to be in prayer for him & his family during this much needed time of preparation, rest, & restoration.


Sabbatical Sermon 

You can listen to Leo Endel’s sermon on sabbath rest & sabbaticals here:

You can read Leo’s sermon notes on sabbath rest & sabbaticals here:



From the Elders of River of Life Church, 12/9/2013


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