Sample Proposal 2
SABBATH LEAVE PROPOSAL
I have been in full time ministry since 1970. During these now 33 years of ministry I have taken one sabbatical. In 1977 I was fully immersed in a full time Bible College faculty position and I was pastor of the church we had planted in 1974. My sabbatical was a restful year as interim pastor of a small country church that needed reviving.
Since that sabbatical I have made two major moves (from Edmonton to Florida to Toronto) and changed roles from faculty member to Senior Pastor back to faculty member (at another institution) and then to Senior Pastor of a much larger church.
My pastoral experience had been first, in growing a new church plant from 13 adults to an average attendance of 150. Then in Florida I had pastored from 1983 to 1991 in a church where Sunday morning attendance average that grew from approximately 200 to 400.
Bayview Glen attendance was approximately 800 in attendance, or twice as large, when I arrived in 1994. For several months I was concluding my time as a full time seminary professor while beginning to serve as the new Senior Pastor of a multi-staff church. Added to this challenge was the fact that the church was under-staffed and in process of change.
The past almost ten years have been exhilarating, stretching and fulfilling. There has been attendance growth, debt elimination and a major building program. Along with this came many 12 -15 hour days, significant stress and over-load. Far too often the urgent has taken precedent over the not urgent but important (Stephen Covey's Quadrant II).
I love being in ministry and have never resented the pace or the demands. However for several years I have felt that I would profit greatly from a Sabbath Leave. I sense that my energy and enthusiasm for leadership are not as high as they need to be.
Our church staff policy manual allowed for a sabbatical break and I began to discuss this in 2000 with the Chair of our Board. However we began a period of staff turnover which included key personnel (our worship pastor and my senior associate) who were not easily or quickly replaced.
At the same time we have experienced an exhilarating change from a largely Caucasian congregation to a very diverse group which more accurately reflects our multi-ethnic city. Over one hundred Chinese and one hundred Iranians presently attend, along with many from others from Asian countries, the Caribbean and the Middle East . In the past 18 months we have added a Chinese pastor and a Persian pastor to our staff.
With all of this change and challenge the time was not right until early 2003 for me to officially request a sabbatical. I am now 58 years old. In the will of God, I should have at least one more decade of strong leadership ministry. I want to finish well. A Sabbath Leave will help me to do that.
During these 30 years of ministry I have allotted little time for spiritual retreat, rest, in depth reading, or writing. Apart from family vacation, I have never stepped back from ministry for more than two or three days. It is time for a significant personal Sabbath renewal. I believe that the Samford University Sabbath Leave program can provide time for this type of re-creation.
I want to spend time to consider at length how I can best put "first things first" in the next decade of ministry.
My wife and I will move to Birmingham in late January and remain until the first of May. We plan to enjoy a five day retreat in early March at the Benedictine Spirituality and Conference Center in nearby Cullman. We have never experienced more than a two day retreat before.
I look forward to attending the Conger Lectures on Biblical Preaching in February and the Biblical Studies Lectures in April. I will enjoy using the University Library facilities extensively. In the past decade, most of my reading has been sermon related or church leadership related. I need to spend time reading more widely. This will include reading in church history and ancient spirituality – subjects that have not usually been high on my reading list.
I hope to write a major segment of a book while on Sabbath leave. Currently I have begun to work on a book tentatively titled "Living and Leading with Character". However I am also interested in writing about leadership lessons from the Kings who are described in II Chronicles and on life lessons from Habakkuk and Haggai. I expect to do research and perhaps even complete one manuscript while on Sabbath leave.
I would enjoy the opportunity to speak at a chapel service or give a lecture on campus if invited.
I plan to spend one week (in mid-March) in Accra , Ghana as a teacher/trainer as part of the Million Leader Mandate – a ministry of Equip (based in Atlanta ). The goal is to train 40,000 leaders who will each train 25 other leaders, in countries outside of North America . My church has agreed to fund our involvement with this ministry over the next three years.
At the same time, I believe that Sabbath Leave should not primarily focus on work, no matter how spiritual and profitable. I need to break with a tendency to "workaholism". (I am sure I have only a mild case of this disease.)
For physical renewal I hope to join with the campus Outdoor Adventure Club if skiing or canoe trips are planned. I have done neither in recent years. I note that near to the campus is the famous Robert Trent Jones Trail. As an avid but very average golfer, I hope to explore part of the trail while at Samford.
I anticipate attending a variety of churches while on Sabbath Leave. There are some healthy congregations in Birmingham . I also have the goal of visiting several well known "cutting edge" churches, including Fellowship Church in Dallas (late January), Northpointe Church in Atlanta (March), and Ginghamsburg in Ohio(April).
At each of these churches I want to spend time with a key staff person as well as observing their weekend services. During the last decade I have attended conferences at large churches, but have not had the opportunity to worship with them or observe their organization on Sundays. No matter how many books read or speakers heard, much can be learned by observing how things are done with excellence and relevance. I want to bring these perspectives back to our leadership team.
In my absence from the church, our Executive Pastor will be responsible for my normal leadership responsibilities. We have arranged for Dr. Gordon Smith, recently Academic Dean of Regent College ( Vancouver ) to serve as our preaching pastor. This will be a half time position. I am very grateful that the Board has arranged for this and built it into our annual budget.
I had a major heart by-pass operation in 1997. I returned to work within a few weeks. The ministry years of 2001 and 2002 were unusually stressful because of staff changes and being under-staffed while looking for replacements. We were also dealing with more than the usual complaints/criticisms over several leadership decisions.
Due to these factors, it was not possible for me to take any sabbatical time even though it was discussed with the Chair of our Board. Bayview Glen Church now has the strongest staff in its history, including an Executive Pastor who greatly relieves my leadership responsibilities.
Ministry is very strong at Bayview Glen. We have more "doors of entry" for unchurched people than ever before. We rejoice each month that there are more professions of faith than ever before. Many of these new believers are people from Muslim or Communist China backgrounds.
Thus this seems to be a very good time in which to take a Sabbath leave.
I believe that my ministry will be refreshed and renewed as I take this Sabbath Leave. I want to return to the pulpit and to leadership with renewed energy and vision. I anticipate this as a wonderful break from which I can return for what is probably my last decade as a Senior Pastor.
Time for reflection and reading, interaction on campus and with pastors at significant, growing churches should broaden my perspective and strengthen the creativity which I bring to leadership.
For many years, people in my congregation have urged me to write books using expanded sermon material. The one book I have authored was published years before coming to Bayview Glen. Many of our people will be very pleased if I can do significant writing while on Sabbath Leave. They want others to benefit from my practical, biblical teaching.
The congregation will benefit from the ministry of a new, very gifted preaching pastor for the months that I am absent.
For many years, Bayview Glen has included a sabbatical leave as part of the Human Resources policies. However, no one has ever taken advantage of the opportunity. In 2001, I began talking with the chair of our Elder's Board about a sabbatical. As a physician and professor, he was very open to the idea and began to informally talk with other elders about it. With the present chairman's approval and the approval of Human Resources Committee, I submitted a request for a sabbatical in February of 2003 to our Board. After some discussion, the Board strongly approved the request to take a sabbatical in 2004.
In June the Board wrote a letter to the congregation informing them of my planned sabbatical and explaining the importance of a sabbatical. We will do more communicating this fall to the congregation.
Jan and I expect to arrive in Birmingham by January 27th . We will settle into a rented apartment for the next 14 weeks, leaving in early May.
January 25 Visit Fellowship Church in Dallas , TX
January 27 Arrive in Birmingham
February 9-13 Five day retreat at Benedictine Spirituality and Conference Center in Cullman , AL
March 5-7 Visit Northpointe Church in Atlanta , Ga
March 14-21 Accra, Ghana (funding covered by church and not part of SLP request)
April 16-18 Visit Ginghamsburg Church in Ohio
May 8 Depart from Birmingham
Bayview Glen will continue my full salary while I am on Sabbath Leave. They will also pay for a preaching pastor ($15,000.00) to maintain pulpit excellence while I am away.
Sabbath Leave Expenses (estimated)
|Return trip: Toronto – Birmingham||$800.00|
|Weekend visits to several key congregations.|
|Travel and housing costs.||$1,500.00|
|Fellowship in Dallas $900.00
(includes a conference fee of $400.00)
|Northpointe in Atlanta $250.00|
|Ginhamsburg in Ohio $350.00|
|Computer printing, copying and book costs.||$350.00|
|Recreation – retreats and golf (estimate)||$750.00|
|Retreat (5 days) - $310.00|
|Golf (8 games x $55) - $440.00|