Arne Garborg To Love A Person

Put A Song Back In Your Pastor’s Heart With A Sabbatical

Sometimes, when we hear of how some of our pastor friends are struggling in their ministry, we remember the story of the parakeet who lost his song.

Lester the parakeet’s sad story began one day when his owner inadvertently sucked Lester into the vacuum bag while cleaning his cage. After removing Lester from the bag, his owner tried to clean him under a blast of icy water. Lester was shivering so much, his owner decided to dry him, using her hair dryer. After these assaults, poor Lester was stunned. Now, in his post-trauma life, Lester doesn’t sing much anymore.[i]

Maybe you know some parish pastors who aren’t singing much these days. Having cold water dashed on their ideas has cooled the fires of their enthusiasm for ministry.

Pastors have a distinct advantage over Lester—we don’t live in a cage. We belong to God who called us to serve during a unique time in history. We live during the age when churches are providing their pastor a clergy sabbatical with its potential to rekindle the fire inside and put a song back in the heart.

We witnessed a time when this literally came true. It involved a pastor who completed his two-month sabbatical in our church’s Pastors2Go program.[ii]

As he neared the end of his sabbatical, we asked this pastor, “When you get back to your church and the people want to know what the sabbatical did for you, what are you going to tell them?”

This pastor replied, “My wife told me that for the first time in a long time, I’ve started to sing out loud in the car once more.”

There’s one possible definition of a clergy sabbatical: Doing whatever it takes so you can sing out loud in the car again.

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Excerpt from our book, Go, Pastor. Go!, pages 50-51.

[i] Adapted from: Lucado, Max. In the Eye of the Storm: Jesus Knows How Your Feel. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1991: 11.

[ii] For more on Pastors2Go, see the chapter, Finding The Rocks.

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Image Credit: Arne Garborg To Love A Person by BK is licensed under CC by 2.0.