The Free Methodist Church in Canada – Sabbatical Guidance (NMEGaP Feb 2/08)

The FMCiC encourages pastors to practice appropriate self-care in all areas of health: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. There are many ways that we can support our pastors in this:

  • taking a true weekly Sabbath
  • allowing time for personal retreat (eg. one day a month)
  • providing for a reading week(s)
  • granting a sabbatical

A sabbatical is one of the many tools in the ‘toolbox’ that we can use to maintain and improve pastoral health.  A sabbatical operates from the perspective of “from health, for health.”

You can read “Sabbatical Leave-A Pastor’s Perspective” and “Sabbatical Leave-A Board Member’s Perspective” in the Spring 2013 issue of The Mosaic.


The following policy principles are given to local churches as guidance for setting up sabbatical entitlements.  An official board is free to grant more sabbatical time than is suggested below.

Guidelines for local churches to consider when drafting a sabbatical policy:

A sabbatical may be granted to full-time pastoral staff members of ________ Free Methodist Church for the pursuit of activities as approved by the Official Board, who may seek advice and direction from the Director of Personnel. The following understandings will apply:

  1. The intent of a sabbatical is to enable the staff member, upon his/her return, to enhance his/her service to that church.
  2. Sabbaticals may be granted by the Official Board of the local church for up to three (3) months after every five consecutive years of fulltime ministry by a staff person at the same church.   Sabbaticals for part time staff need to be considered on a pro-rated basis (up to 6 weeks sabbatical time for a half time staff member).
  3. When a pastor applies to the Official Board for a sabbatical, a detailed proposal outlining the goals and activities of the sabbatical, must be presented to the Official Board with the application. Applications must be presented six months prior to requested sabbatical.
  4. Each staff member may apply vacation time earned to extend his/her sabbatical up to a maximum of one month.
  5. Full salary and benefits will be paid during the sabbatical, upon approval of the sabbatical application by the Official Board.
  6. Upon returning, the staff member taking a sabbatical will give a report to the Official Board on what was achieved during their time.
  7. All requests for sabbaticals by pastors and the resulting decision of the Official Board shall be filed with the Director of Personnel.
  8. Upon completion of the sabbatical, the staff member is required to serve one year at the church.  Pastors failing to complete this minimum requirement may be required by the local church to pay back half of the salary received during the sabbatical.

Download Sabbatical Application   (Word format)   (pdf format)