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Taking A Break

I cannot thank you enough for allowing me to take a sabbatical from my pastoral duties starting September 13. I have been in contact with three fellow area pastors and each of them had taken recent sabbaticals as well. They encouraged me greatly about how re-energized they are to serve their congregations once again.

I have had people ask me, why am I taking a sabbatical, and what is the purpose of it? Those are great questions, and you deserve the answers to them. Let me give you four reasons. First, our personnel leave policy (created many years ago) allows the Senior pastor to take three months off every seven-year interval. I have been an employee of Providence for ten years. This is one of the few benefits that the pastoral staff receives and I feel blessed to receive it. Just like you, I want to make use of the benefits granted by your place of work.

Second, I need to rest emotionally. At times, I envy those of you who have jobs that end at a specific time. You can divorce yourself from your work environment, go home and unwind knowing that your place of employment can no longer make more demands during your personal time. This is not the case for pastors. Events occur that bleed into our personal time off. Deaths, surgeries, and crisis counseling can happen at any time. Everyone has problems that are important to them and feel they need their pastor. There was a period this summer when I went six consecutive weeks without a full day off. To be honest, I don't mind it so much. I love to serve and help where I can. But even as I experience joy in serving, I confess I can feel burnout as well and I need a deliberate break from my duties. To always be ‘on’ is emotionally draining. My batteries could use some time to recharge.

Third, my family needs some exclusive time with me. They need me to devote some attention to them and not feel that our church family is always encroaching upon theirs. I am grateful that you are allowing me to minister exclusively to them these next three months. Lisa and I are getting to go on a marriage retreat at the end of October. We are thrilled to do this.

And lastly, you may not realize this, but you need a break from me. You need to know that the church is more than its pastor. We have so many gifted people that are looking forward to serving you. Brian and Daniel will do a wonderful job preaching and leading. They will gain some valuable experience for when they serve as senior pastors. Our elders are also looking forward to serving your needs. And there are other members in our congregation that will get the opportunity to do evangelism, counseling, and discipleship to fill in the gap while I am away.

Once again, thank you for allowing me this time off. I know that I will miss serving you. But I am praying that when I return, I will serve you even better and more effectively.

Pastor Blair