Highlights from the Latest Ordained Servant

  • WSC alumnus, pastor of Pilgrim Presbyterian Church in Dover, NH, and PhD candidate Dave Holmlund reviews a volume by WSC’s incoming Academic Dean, John Fesko in the latest issue of Ordained Servant.
  • The truth is that the “burn-out” rate for pastors is very high—too high. What can be done about it? WSC’s David VanDrunen contributes an essay making the case for giving pastors a break (a sabbatical) to allow them to study and to refresh themselves. Dave raises the question of why pastors should get sabbaticals when folk in other vocations do not? Good question and the answer is sound, but, in fact, folk in other professions (besides teachers) do get sabbaticals. Other professions routinely require people to take continuing education courses. When Dave says “sabbatical” he means “continuing education.”

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  1. Great article by DVD! I liked this quote even though it probably applies to me. It’s a good admonition to pastors and even seminary students.

    “Before I present some concrete thoughts on how pastors might use sabbaticals, I note that in some circumstances it may not be wise for a congregation to grant its pastor a sabbatical, even when it is logistically possible. If a pastor is struggling with time management issues, for example, then granting him a sabbatical is probably not wise or responsible: a pastor who is unaccustomed to using his time well in his ordinary labors will most likely not use his time well on sabbatical. If he is spending hours every day reading and posting blogs, it may be that he has the time for necessary reading and reflection but is simply using it poorly. In such circumstances, the elders would probably serve the church better by helping the pastor to become more disciplined in his use of time than by giving him more time to squander.”

    Ouch! I am going to have to take a sabbatical from reading your blog now Dr. Clark.

    • One is tempted to remind ones esteemed colleague that one receives a
      fair bit of email from grateful pastors (who probably don’t have
      sabbaticals) and who keep up and even profit (the age of wonders has
      not ceased) by reading the HB.

  2. I agree. I’ll probably read your blog when, Lord willing, I am a pastor some day. It will keep me connected with the Seminary and academia.

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