Sabbatical Plan

ABSTRACT

This document delineates on the hypothesis and thesis statement with regards to a lifelong ministry’s effectiveness and fruitfulness predicated of the minister of God. Its hypothesis states a proposition that defines the topics as the core under discussion and gives a resolution as the remedial approach to solving the problem. It explains the necessity of taking time off from employment to alleviate burnout in the ministry or job related situation. It discusses the sabbatical plan with relative to a lifelong learning endeavor coupled with ministerial responsibilities in the kingdom of God. In the section of the lifelong learning endeavor, it delineates on the Praise Ministries International mission objectives presented as the methodologies Praise Ministries International uses to authenticate its mission of global evangelization of the world. The methodologies or the objectivities include mission evangelism, mission church planting, and mission education. Each of these is explained in the body of this document. It discusses the sabbatical schedules with relative to a lifelong learning, discipleship making, marital and family health, family vacation, and personal accountability taking time into consideration. It illustrates the various schedules in tabular format with respect to the sabbatical plan, gives the summary of the schedule, and illustrates the monthly projected budget of the minister under personal responsibility and concludes with the summary of the Sabbatical Schedule.

HYPOTHESIS AND THESIS STATEMENT

Lifelong ministry effectiveness and fruitfulness are the result of recognizing burnout and putting activities into place to alleviate it in the realistic ministry setting; however, burnout in ministry is the result of the improper use of times and not be able to observe one’s depletion of energy in ministry and the manner how a minister handles ministry’s work or job related situation.The subject of lifelong ministry effectiveness and fruitfulness is tied to the minister’s educational functioning and sustainable ministry’s operation that are independent of the minister taking off time from the job or employment to have rest, the implementation of the sabbatical plan with reference to a lifelong learning endeavor, attending to discipleship making, creating and putting programs into place that protect marital and family health, taking family vacation, and attending to personal responsibility taking time into considerations.

SABBATICAL PLANS

Lifelong Learning

In ministry, the issues of lifelong learning endeavor is vital to the minister’s educational functioning and sustainable ministry’s operation with reference to evangelism, church planting, and education. To aggregate these elements of objectivities in the global evangelization of the world, I have narrowed these objectivities in the ministry’s operation scene of what is called mission. These objectivities are narrowed to mission in the contextualization of Praise Ministries International mission statement: Praise Ministries International is a cross-continental ministry whose mission focuses on global evangelization accomplished through mission evangelism, mission church planting, and mission education. In the mission statement of Praise Ministries International, the mission objectives that comprise evangelism, church planting, and education are methodologies used in the implementation of the mission of Praise Ministries International. To actualize these objectives requires a lifelong learning endeavor to effectuate evangelism, church planting, and education. On the subsequent pages of this document, each of the methodologies termed as objectivities are explained.

Evangelism

Praise Ministries International’s philosophy of ministries is tied to the Great Commission recorded in Matthew 28:16–20. In this passage, Jesus meets his disciples, he declares his authority to them from heaven, and he orders them to go. Evangelism is the act of the proclamation of the gospel with the goal of winning souls for the kingdom of God; however, the winning of souls never comes to a realization until the imperative, “go” is exercised or predicated by the disciples of Christ; therefore, being obedient to the Great Commission calls for the individual to act by going. To actualize evangelism, the disciple should go. In Praise Ministries International, we are actively involved in evangelism. It is done by going. We are being commissioned to go (mission) according to scriptures. This going is a mission nomenclature as mission evangelism being used as one of the methodologies of Praise Ministries International.

Church Planting

Not only did Jesus tell his disciples to go, but he also told them to make disciples of all nations (languages, ethnicities, and customs). Under the church planting endeavor of Praise Ministries International, discipleship classes are organized into small groups setting according to age range. New converts are taught fundamental biblical doctrines that influence their growths and maturity with reference to the knowledge of God’s word and obedience. These classes are rudimentary in that they prepare new converts for baptism in order to path the way for their admissions into the Christian faith known as inclusion predicated through the act of the Christian sacrament called baptism. The church is asked to baptize disciples after evangelism according to the passage; therefore, in obedient to the passage, the ministry conducts baptismal classes followed by baptism ceremony.

Education

Not only does Praise Ministries International conduct discipleship classes as rudimentary to her endeavor of church planting, but she also carries out systematic lifelong education or training with reference to Sunday School, weekly Bible Studies, leadership seminars, Church Conferences, primary and secondary education that resonate with both religious and academic endeavors. In Matthew 28:16–20, it states in verse 20 that we are obligated to teach them to obey everything he has commanded us. Jesus was speaking to his disciples during his days; therefore, he is speaking to the church in like manner to this generation. In Praise Ministries International, we are not only interested in the development of the man’s spiritual domain, but we are also interested in the development of his cognitive-perceptual domain; therefore, Praise Ministries International conducts religious and academic education.

            From the standpoint of lifelong learning endeavor with reference to burnout and time management, I have selected from the introductory section the vitality of the lifelong learning and I have situated these fragmentations that give the main idea of the lifelong learning endeavor.

Minister’s Educational Functioning

While running ministry, some ministers have a tendency to do ministry while attending school. Doing ministry and attending school at the same time can be challenging. One of the things the minister will eventually experience will be burnout. Christopher writes in the following quotes, “The “rest” of God in Genesis 2 does not mean he takes a break from governing the universe; it is the rest of having completed the creation he has made. But God works tirelessly to sustain creation, to feed creation, and to govern creation by his providence. He does not sleep and he does not take Sabbath rests. But we must. If we neglect this, we are implicitly claiming an affinity with God that mortals cannot claim.”[1] Based on the nature of our being that is disconnected from God’s nature of being, we are recommended to take Sabbath rest as God did after the creation of the world. The rest of God does not resonate with our rest based on the nature of his being. He is God; therefore, he does not actually need rest; on the contrary, we are human; therefore, we need rest in order to recuperate. If we neglect to take Sabbath rest, we implicitly claim affinity with God that mortals cannot claim; in this light, we should take rest to minimize the impact of burnout to allow us do the works of ministry effectively and efficiently. Not only are we recommended to take Sabbath rest, but we are also recommended in scriptures to renew ourselves inwardly. He writes, “So as creatures of dust, we need sleep, Sabbaths, and friendship. God needs none of these. The final need I want to focus on for us as human beings is inward renewal. Just as we need food and water to keep our bodies physically alive, so we need the inward renewal of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and lives. What I mean is this: as a creature born from above, a man or woman in Christ, I am no longer merely dust; I am dust in whom the Spirit of Christ lives. Although the outward me is disintegrating, heading downwards inexorably towards returning to dust, ageing, weakening, losing my power and faculties there is within me the Spirit of the One who raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 8 v 10–11).”[2] The three keys recommended for burnout in this discourse are vital and sustainable tools to reduce the impact of burnout in the ministry which should not be under looked or taken for granted in the ministry. The keys discussed are relevant to the Christian ministry and to the life of the minister of God.

            Burnout can negatively affect the minister’s educational functioning in the Pastoral ministry and in academic institutions. There are factors that contribute to burnout. They include heavy workloads on the minister both pastorally and academically that lead to lack of sleep. It produces and activates stress in the life of the minister of God. I experienced burnout in ministry in 2010 when I served as the Pastor for the congregation in Charlotte and at the same time attended the community college. I had three things going on in my life. They included ministry, family, and school. I was not effective to run the church while attending school; therefore, I had to withdraw from the program. I got sick due to lack of sleep that also contributed to my stress level causing burnout. It impelled my educational functioning and made me ineffective in the school and in the ministry.

Sustainable Ministry’s Operation

The issues of time management in a lifelong learning endeavor is vital to sustainable ministry’s operation and function in the pastoral ministry. Had I not considered time factor to have sometimes of rest, I would not have withdrawn from the program. Indeed, I withdrew from the school temporarily in order to recuperate physically and cognitively to enable me continue the job I was doing. Not only did the burnout stop when I withdrew from the school, I still experienced burnout in the ministry that was also affecting family life; as the result, I quitted the ministry after I had a family crisis. It was necessary that I close the church to seek after my health and to pay attention to the family. Based on these experiences during previous years, I have developed the below schedule with reference to lifelong learning endeavor based on the present condition. This means that the schedule can change based on changing dynamics of the situation. The schedule below resonates with the doctoral program I am enrolled.

Months/TimesActivities
April–JulySpring Semester Enrollment
October–JanuaryFall Semester Enrollment

Discipleship Making

The next Sabbatical plan references discipleship making in the ministry. At present, I am not involved in active ministry in the United States; however, I am still in school and doing two jobs to support me and the branch churches of Praise Ministries International, Liberia. This year, I paid a visit to Liberia in order to conduct leadership seminar at SD Cooper Road branch followed by five day revival services. This occurred in June of 2019. The trip was a mission endeavor established to attend oversea. During every year from June to July, I will take vacation from my jobs in order to attend to the ministry’s works in Liberia and elsewhere the ministry will have been established. The schedule below indicates the plan for discipleship making.

MonthsActivities
June–JulyLeadership Seminar and Revival

Marital and Family Health

In God’s organized system of human activity with reference to serving him and the minister’s life, God is the primary individual that should be honored, second, family, and third, ministry. In this junction, family is paramount to God; therefore, a minister will do well in ministering to the congregation he is being assigned to if his family is well. Scripture indicates that if a man is not able to manage his home, he cannot lead the house of God (1Timothy 3:5). This is one of the reasons I had to close the church in Charlotte when I was faced with crisis in the home. I had to close the ministry because I was not healthy family and spiritual wise when my Ex-wife went into adultery. I had been divorced for the past seven years; however, my family has been my children. I periodically take them formerly to the restaurant and other places of recreation; unfortunately, since I changed job resulting to schedule changed, the frequency of time I spent with my children has changed also; notwithstanding, due to family health, I have made adjustment to the time I spent with my children. The below schedule is subject to change due to changing dynamics of family structure with reference to remarriage in the near future.

DaysActivities
SaturdaysFather and Children visit to restaurant and recreation centers
TuesdaysFather and children visit to restaurant and recreation centers

Family Vacation

One of the strategies put into place to alleviate burnout is to take off from employment and to have a vacation either in the hotel or on a beach. During this time, the minister reads, prays, and fasts. He separates himself in order to spend time with God. It is the period of solicitude that puts the minister of God in the position to spend time with God without external relationship. Every year between the April and July and between October and January, I will take off from work in order to spend time with God to a solitary environment. It will be a period of reading, praying, fasting, and reflecting on spiritual matters and ministry’s endeavors. The schedule indicated below is the annual Sabbatical Vacation Plan Schedule.

MonthsDatesActivities
May1–21Reading, praying, fasting, and reflecting
November1–21Reading, praying, fasting, and reflecting

Personal Responsibilities

Prayer Life

Prayer is the communication between God and humanity (Jer. 33:3). It is a vehicle that takes man to God. Prayer is a spiritual discipline that should be exercised by every believer or minister of God. Lack of prayer life is the direct result of lacking spiritual power in the kingdom of God. We are admonished in the Bible to be prayerful. Lacking this spiritual discipline equates a minister to ineffectiveness and unfruitfulness in the ministry; therefore, it is wise to attach time to prayer time in order to remind the minister when to pray. The below listed schedule is for prayer time.

DayActivity
TuesdaysFasting and Praying

Bible study

The other area of spiritual discipline is the study of God’s word. The study of God’s word is incorporated into studying, reading, memorizing scriptures, outlining the sermon, and preparing sermon manuscripts. The below schedule is for word study.

DaysActivities
TuesdaysBible Study
WednesdaysOutline Sermons and Study
SaturdaysRehearsal for the Sermon
SundaysTeaching and Preaching the Sermon

Housekeeping and Laundry

After having worked during the weeks taking care of necessities with reference to employment, shopping, and among other things, on Saturday morning, the house is cleaned followed by laundry activities between 8:00 AM to 12:00 noon. The below schedule is for housekeeping and laundry activities.

DaysActivities
SaturdaysHousekeep and Laundry

Budgeting and Financial Management

Planning is necessary when it comes to the use of money in the home. Proper budgeting with reference to operational funds is vital to financial management in the home. It has direct impact on the ministry and helps the minister for spending on necessary needs in the home. If the minister is able to manage his family by attending to family basic needs financially, he will be empowered to run the ministry because his family needs are being met in due season; therefore, I have developed a monthly projected budget for the family life and annual Sabbatical Schedule as indicated below.

Monthly Projected Budget

NoDescriptionsQuantityUnit Price $Total $
1rice2 boxes13.9927.98
2meat12 pcs3.9547.40
3oil2 gal10.9521.90
4soup kinds45.0020.00
5gasoline450.00200.00
6rent1717.00717.00
7auto insurance142.0042.00
8electricity1127.00127.00
9internet150.9950.99
10phone240.0080.00
11water65.0030.00
12IRS debt160.0060.00
13household items54.0020.00
14Miscellaneous11144.43
15Subtotal111588.70

Annual Sabbatical Schedule

Months/DaysDates/TimesActivities
SaturdaysweeklyFasting and Praying
TuesdaysweeklyRestaurant and Recreation
SundaysweeklyTeaching and Preaching
May1–21Family Vacation
November1–21Family Vacation
April–JuneApril to JuneSpring Semester
October–JanuaryOctober to JanuaryFall Semester
June–JulyJune 15 to July 15Teaching and Preaching (Mission Trip to Liberia)

CONCLUSION

The subject of lifelong ministry effectiveness and fruitfulness is tied the minister’s educational functioning and sustainable ministry’s operation that are independent of the minister taking off time from the job or employment to have rest, the implementation of the sabbatical plan with reference to a lifelong learning endeavor, attending to discipleship making, creating and putting programs into place that protect marital and family health, taking family vacation, and attending to personal responsibility with reference to time.


[1]Ash, Christopher. Zeal without Burnout: Seven Keys to a Lifelong Ministry of Sustainable Sacrifice. New Malden: The Good Book Company, 2016, 57.

[2]Ibid., 73–74.