Published on January 8, 2018 by Maryellen Newton  

Samford University’s Center for Congregational Resources is in its second year of a study leave program for Alabama pastors. The center targets bivocational pastors who are balancing their ministry duties and other employment, as well as their home and family life, program director Michael Wilson said. 

“Our hope is that these study leaves help participants be renewed and refreshed for continued effective pastoral ministry in their churches,” he added. 

This opportunity provides busy pastors a chance for spiritual, emotional and physical rest and renewal. With access to resources from Samford’s Department of Religion and Beeson Divinity School, the participating pastors are sure to find opportunities to learn from other ministers.

In only its second year, the study leave program has already seen success, Wilson noted. Kevin Jones is just one pastor who is currently involved. He said it’s been a chance to recharge and refocus, all while gaining a new perspective on his own church. Jones has also connected with other pastors from the area. 

“I’ve been able to develop relationships with them kind of like a mentor,” he said. Jones added that they’ve reaffirmed most of what he knew to be important, and that is missions. Upon program completion, he’ll take his recharged and renewed perspectives back to his church. 

“I am always impressed by the level of commitment ministers we’ve worked with have for their churches,” Wilson said. “They work extraordinarily hard to care for their churches and they very rarely complain about the demands on their time.” 

Wilson said that he hopes to expand the program. “Though the program was initially designed for Alabama Baptist pastors, we know that most other denominations have pastors in similar situations, with few resources for continuing education and renewal,” Wilson said. 

For more information on the study leave program, contact the CCR office at 205-726-4046.

Maryellen Newton is a journalism and mass communication major and a news and feature writer in the Division of Marketing and Communication.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.