Saint Peter’s Church Sabbatical Policy
A ministry sabbatical is not an extended vacation nor is it an academic sabbatical that normally involves extensive study. A ministry sabbatical is a release from the routine of the call for the physical, emotional, spiritual, and intellectual well-being of the ministry leader(s).
A sabbatical is intended and designed to provide rest, both physical and mental, for the eligible pastor—to allow for a more meaningful break from the pressures and routine of work life. It offers an opportunity to think, play, pray, read, seek the Lord, dream, travel, explore, pursue hobbies, study, or invest in people. It should be a time to get rejuvenated and re-energized. Above anything else, this benefit is intended to thank and reward in a special way those who devote a significant number of years to Saint Peter’s ministry.
A sabbatical also benefits Saint Peter’s Church and its membership by returning a renewed and refreshed pastor back to the team. Generally, we cannot operate effectively if we are frequently drained mentally, emotionally or physically. Our faithfulness in service to God and successful completion of our mission is largely dependent on our passion and joy in ministry; a sabbatical is intended to encourage and refill those who have poured out so much.
A BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE ON SABBATICALS
The word sabbatical is drawn from Sabbath. The Hebrew word for Sabbath means to “close or rest” and is connected with the last day of Creation when God rested. (Genesis 2:3) God both models and commands Sabbath rest for his people. “Remember the Sabbath to keep it holy.” (Exodus 20:8-11)
Jesus affirmed the importance of rest saying, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27-28) So the Biblical example of Jesus’ own frequent withdrawal to a quiet place to meditate, pray and be renewed is a model for us to pattern our lives after.
A sabbatical will be offered to the Saint Peter’s Church Senior Pastor, Associate/Assistant Pastor, and Executive Pastor after the completion of seven (7) years of service and every five (5) years thereafter.
Leaves of absence or breaks in continuous full-time service less than one year in aggregate duration (whether paid or unpaid) will not reset the accumulation of “years of service” towards the Sabbatical, but such absences shall not be credited toward the accumulation of employment “years of service”.
Eligible pastors will:
Receive one (1) week of sabbatical for every year of full-time, employed service.
Be paid their normal salary plus a stipend of $5,000 (where applicable taxes will be withheld from the stipend at applicable rates for FICA, federal income taxes and state income taxes).
The Board of Stewards will coordinate with the finance team to budget monthly for the stipend with the intent of accumulating a reserve stipend budget line that would be paid out at the time of a Pastor’s Sabbatical.
Will begin accumulating their next five (5) year term of service from the date of completion of the prior sabbatical.
Will retain their paid holidays and earned vacation days during that year.
In order to make the sabbatical program work effectively for Saint Peter’s Church and for the eligible Pastors, the following guidelines and terms shall be adhered to:
Eligible pastors must give one year’s notice to the Board of Stewards and present their proposed sabbatical plan for approval at least six (6) months prior to commencement of the sabbatical. At a minimum it will include:
The Sabbatical and Sunday Church Service Sermon speaker schedule.
An outline of the functions for the remaining pastors and staff during the sabbatical.
Location and contact information to be used only in what is considered to be an emergency situation.
The sabbatical must be taken during the 12-month period following the completion of the employee’s qualifying year of service.
The entire sabbatical period must be contiguous.
Every effort will be made to pay out the sabbatical stipend at least 30 days prior to the sabbatical start date.
By taking a sabbatical, the Pastor agrees to return to Saint Peter’s Church for at least one full year of employment, beginning with his/her first day of work following the completion of their sabbatical (which includes any vacation time which may have been added).
Should the Pastor choose to leave prior to the completion of this full, one-year period, they agree to reimburse Saint Peter’s the full gross amount of the stipend paid.
Only one Pastoral Sabbatical may be taken in a calendar year.
The Board of Stewards reserves the right to cancel or alter the sabbatical program, sabbatical plan, and stipend in any way and at any time. The sabbatical and/or its stipend should be considered by eligible pastors as a gift at the time of occurance and not as accrued compensation of benefits.