My pastor announced a big decision recently—one that could easily be misunderstood. After Easter, he will take a 4-month sabbatical from his duties as the senior pastor of our 3,000+ member church.
I wanted to stand and cheer! Not because I don’t like his teaching or leadership—actually just the opposite. Charlie is a gifted pastor, speaker and leader who I hope makes it for the long haul. But he won’t make it another 25 years if he doesn’t take a significant break to disconnect and decompress.
No matter what the context of your leadership (business, sports, family) you also need time away in order to be at your best. We were not created to go 24/7/365 and those who try suffer from burnout, health ailments and relational dysfunction.
Charlie gave three reasons for this break:
1. Rest: his body, and more importantly, his soul need rest. Just a few years back (before we had a bigger building) he was preaching 6 times/weekend. Now it’s down to three, which still takes an enormous amount of energy. We may love superman and maybe even have a cape! But we’re not superheros. Just human.
2. Refuel: time away from the daily grind of responsibilities and deadlines will give Charlie’s mind and heart space that will produce greater energy and creativity. Just like the guy who is too busy driving to stop and get gas, we will eventually break down if we don’t stop and refuel. Charlie will return a better leader because he’s refueling.
3. Repair: over the last few years, Charlie has experienced significant personal and professional losses (his mom just passed a few days ago). His ongoing responsibilities as a spiritual leader have inhibited him from allowing his soul to grieve and heal. We all experience loss and pain in life, and the effects can be debilitating if we don’t take time to seek healing for our broken places.
We may not have the luxury of a 4-month sabbatical, but all of us can take some kind of break. Taking time to rest, refuel and repair benefits you AND your followers.