hope for churches in stress

Sabbatical Strategy

Have you ever shut down a PC and rebooted the system to resolve a program glitch? One pastor dared to apply this strategy to a church. In this counterintuitive way, he set out to “reboot” a stalled church system.

Burned out by the rigors of church planting, Brian Casale took 18 months to recuperate. Then he returned to ministry as pastor of a small church that was on the verge of closing.

People in the church had lost vision. They were discouraged. They were physically and emotionally tired, worn out from trying to turn around a church in decline.

So Brian released the congregation to rest—to take a sabbatical year!

For himself, this meant a focus on preaching. He gave pastoral care, as needed. And he applied his excess energy to clearing away physical clutter in the facility.

For the congregation, the governing board met only as needed. The worship team scaled back practice times. Sunday School was reconfigured into a trimester schedule (three months on, one month off). Workers were recruited for only six months at a time.

As people recuperated, they began to invite family and friends. In that year attendance tripled. Offerings rose to a record high. Incredibly, Brian says, “Everything increased!”

Some pastors take sabbaticals. Before talking with Brian, however, I had never heard of a whole church taking a sabbatical. Apparently, in some instances, a season of rest can “jump start” a faltering church.

Sometimes, doing less can accomplish more!

The full story available in Drop Box.

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Barnabas Initiatives is a tax exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Donors are invited to contribute. Client churches are asked to reimburse expenses, but are not assessed a fee for service. Instead, as they are able, churches are asked to consider a per diem or customized contribution. 

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