Pastor Swap? Home Swap? Or Ministry Swap?

What is the difference between a home swap, a pastor swap, and a ministry swap?

The difference is one of focus and complexity.

The home swap (also known as a “home exchange”), leaves the identity of those negotiating the home swap open-ended.  Instead of focusing on who is doing the swap, the focus is on the homes that are being swapped.  When are our homes available?  Do we agree that there is a good match between the suitability of my home for you and your home for me?

The pastor swap brings attention to the identity of one or more of the home swappers–a pastor.   The pastor swap adds a layer of complexity to the typical home swap.  The field of candidates for a pastor swap is much narrower than it is for a home swap.

The ministry swap introduces the expectation that a pastor (or some similar church professional) is going to perform a service or do some work during their home swap.

So, what is my advice to the pastor who wants to do a home swap?

Keeps things as simple as possible.

Life has a way of getting complicated, no matter how hard we work to keep things simple.  Whenever possible, strive for a home swap that does not encumber you and/or others with additional expectations.

However, I would also encourage you to count your blessings because of the unique opportunities that may come your way when you let people know that you are a pastor who is open to consider a ministry swap.  Your willingness to accept certain pastoral duties during your home swap may be just what it takes to make your clergy sabbatical more affordable for either you or your congregation.