The shepherding of the church is a weighty responsibility for a pastor. Our elders are called on to guide and care for the members of our congregation as we go through the different seasons of life. They love to celebrate our joys, but they are more often called to walk with us through dark and difficult valleys; these are the times we lean on our ministers more heavily to help us bear our burdens. Our pastors love us and their desire is to be a help and resource, but these needs exact a physical, mental, and emotional toll.
God calls us to a sabbath rest. The sabbath was His good gift to acknowledge and care for the frailty of humans. In the same way, Exodus Church gives the gift of a sabbatical to our elders to acknowledge their very human need for rest and recalibration.
For every seven years of service, our paid staff pastors are granted an 8-12 week sabbatical. The sabbatical is not a vacation, though there is plenty of time built in for rest and family connection. Under the guidance of a sabbatical coach, the pastor spends time in counseling, both individually and with his wife, learning more about himself and his calling and his work. There is time for reading, journaling, prayer, and reflection. It’s a time of being able to take a step back from the daily work and expectations of being a leader to others, and truly focus on simply following and knowing God.
One of our pastors, Ben Hoersch, will be out on sabbatical this summer. He and his family have been diligently planning and preparing for this time of sabbath rest. The responsibilities he oversees at Exodus have been delegated and covered. This coming Sunday, we will pray for him and Cathy and their children as they head out. They will be away from Exodus for the summer and return on August 8th.
Please pray for Ben and Cathy and their children as they are away. Pray for rest and opportunities to grow closer as a family. Pray for Ben as he studies and reflects, that God will strengthen and draw him into a closer communion with Him.
We anticipate that you will have questions about this. If so, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Elders will address them and respond. We may address the questions publicly if they would be helpful to the congregation (without disclosing the person who asked the question).