Taking time to rest with God
|What is a sabbatical?
The word sabbatical has its roots in the biblical concept of Sabbath. In its simplest Old Testament form, to enter into Sabbath meant that, after a period of six days, a person was to rest or cease from everyday work and spend one day reconnecting with God (Exodus 20:8–11). God himself set this pattern during creation (Genesis 2:1–3).
A sabbatical isn’t a vacation, but an opportunity to pause for a prolonged period of time, step out of routine, and engage in activities that rejuvenate the heart, mind, and soul.
The practice of sabbaticals gained traction during the Middle Ages in schools of higher education, where instructors were given a leave of absence in order to renew their passion for their subject of teaching. Today, the granting of sabbaticals is commonplace in both secular and Christian colleges and universities.
Although Mennonite Brethren are just now seeing an increased number of sabbaticals for pastoral staff, it’s been a routine part of other denominations for some time.