CVBC Pastoral Sabbatical Policy
Rest and reflection are healthy and important components of ministry. To that end, the CVBC elders believe it is
important to extend to our full‐time, pastoral staff a periodic sabbatical from their normal duties for the purpose
of allowing them to renew their hearts and minds for ministry, and to seek God’s direction regarding their future
Each sabbatical will look different depending on the staff member involved and their season of life and ministry.
This policy has been written with flexibility in mind to allow the staff member and elders to design a productive
and helpful sabbatical time. Wes Roberts, author of Support Your Local Pastor, suggests the sabbatical time
should broadly focus on the following eight “R’s”: Relaxation, Recreation, Rest, Renewal, Revival, Rethinking,
Refocusing, and Return.
With this context in mind, our approach to sabbaticals is guided by the following principles:
1. Normally, a sabbatical will occur after 4 – 6 years of consecutive service for each eligible staff member,
with no more than one sabbatical occurring in any given year.
2. In the case of recently‐hired staff members, the elders may consider past ministry service at other
churches or organizations when deciding the appropriate timing of a sabbatical.
3. A sabbatical timeline will be discussed during the annual performance review of each pastoral staff
4. Before leaving for sabbatical, the staff member will develop and share with the elders a plan of how the
sabbatical time will be used. The elders will approve this plan before the sabbatical time begins.
Additionally, the elders and the staff member will at this time discuss such issues as coverage of duties
during the sabbatical, how often (and in what format) the staff member will report back to the elders, and
any goals for the sabbatical period. This planning process should occur approximately six months before
the sabbatical time.
5. The length of a sabbatical depends on the needs and desires of the staff member, and also on the needs
of the church during that time. Based on the experiences of other church communities, we envision that
sabbaticals will be 6 – 10 weeks in length, as agreed between the elders and the staff member.
6. At the conclusion of a sabbatical period, the staff member will report back to the elders on the
experience, including a summary of how the time was spent, insights gained, and lessons learned for
future sabbatical times. A brief written report will be submitted as part of this reflection, for archiving
and future reference.
7. Sabbatical time does not count against a staff member’s paid time off (PTO) as defined in the CVBC
Employee Policy Manual.
8. Staff members retain full salary and benefits during a sabbatical. However, sabbatical time is not an
accrued benefit, i.e. there is no possibility for cash payout or additional PTO being assigned in lieu of
sabbatical time taken.
While this policy is written for full‐time, pastoral staff at CVBC, the elders recognize the very significant
contributions of our non‐pastoral staff, ministry leaders, deacons, and non‐vocational elders. We encourage
these individuals to regularly discuss their ministry workload and outlook with their spouses, family, and
ministry partners, and the elders commit to helping our engaged leaders find times of rest and renewal in
Approved by the CVBC elders 11/5/2015