Ministry is challenging. That was true for the apostle Paul, and it is true of those called into vocational ministry today. The last few years have added to the stress of being a pastor in the local church. One thing that can help a pastor regain clarity and have refreshment of their soul is to take a sabbatical. This is an extended time away from the ministry for the purpose of refreshment, recreation, and renewal in the Lord. There are three great models of this in Scripture, one being Moses, one being Elijah, and the other being Jesus. Spiritual leaders in particular, need time away with their Lord in order to hear his voice, pour out their souls and renew and deepen important relationships in their lives.
One of the things that can keep a pastor from taking a sabbatical is finances. In order to help with this PastorServe received a grant from the Albert W. Zimmer III & Julianna A. Zimmer Fund. The point of this fund is to help pastors financially with their sabbatical, with the goal that they would come back renewed and refreshed for ministry in Christ.
The fund is available for pastors approximately 50 years of age and older, who live in the greater Kansas City area, and have ministered at the same location for approximately 10 years. These funds are to be used for a sabbatical of up to three months in duration, to provide rest, rejuvenation and renewal for the pastor and their spouse. The fund’s distribution would be conditional upon the pastor’s church financially contributing to the sabbatical expenses.
There is an application process for the grant. Among other things, the application asks for the pastor to consider their goals for the sabbatical and to list sabbatical activities and the cost of those activities. The application also includes a section which will detail the commitment from the church to cover at least half of the total cost of the sabbatical which may include expenses incurred by the church during the pastor’s absence, including the pastor’s salary.
The application for the sabbatical funds are reviewed by Jay Fowler along with Bill and Julie Zimmer before funds are disbursed. The pastor will also have a sabbatical coach to work with on a biweekly basis prior to, during, and after the sabbatical. The cost of this coaching is covered by the sabbatical grant.
Following the sabbatical, the pastor will write a brief report explaining what they learned during their sabbatical and how the Lord used the time away in their lives.
For many pastors, summertime is the best time to take a sabbatical, because it is the least active time in the church’s life. But it is okay to apply for the fund regardless of the dates of the planned sabbatical. It is best for the application for the sabbatical fund to occur three months before the start date of the sabbatical.
How to apply
Please click below to contact Jay Fowler, the Executive Director of the Midwest Region Of PastorServe