Tri-County Southern Baptist Association



WHAT IS A MINISTRY RENEWAL LEAVE? A ministry renewal leave is an extended time of unplugging from ministry responsibilities that allows a pastor to recharge his spiritual batteries and get new energy and focus for the next years of a church’s ministry.

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY? The Scriptures teach God’s plan for His people to take time for rest and renewal:

  1. God stopped His work on the seventh day after creation and blessed the day of rest (Genesis 2:2).


  1. God passed on the principle of stopping work when He established “Sabbath rest” (Exodus 20:8-11, Leviticus 23:3)


  1. Jesus took time to get away from His daily ministry for spiritual refreshment: “But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.” (Luke 5:16)


  1. Jesus invited His disciples to “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.” (Mark 6:31).


  1. The Apostle Paul encouraged the New Testament churches to be a blessing to their pastors: “Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.” (1 Timothy 5:17).



  1. The Gospel ministry is spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically demanding like few other occupations.


  1. Without a rest and renewal, physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual fatigue occurs.


  1. Satan loves attacking weary and wounded shepherds.
  2. What a ministry renewal leave is not:
  • It is not time away to pursue additional study: Theological education does not allow for spiritual, mental, and emotional renewal.
  • It is not an escape: A ministry renewal leave is not a way for a pastor to escape a troubled ministry, nor is it a time to search for a new place of ministry.



  1. Qualification: Full-time ministerial staff will be eligible for ministry renewal leave for every seven (7) years of service, after completing a minimum of seven (7) years in their position. A ministry renewal leave is not a right but a privilege. It is not automatic as a condition of employment unless agreed upon at the time of hiring. Only one ministerial staff member may be on a ministry renewal leave during any 12-month period.


  1. Term: The duration of the ministry renewal leave is flexible depending on needs and objectives, with a minimum of one month, up to a maximum of three months. The ministry renewal leave will not affect vacation time.


  1. Activities: The activities, during ministry renewal leave, will be for the improvement of the physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing of the ministerial staff member as well as the Association.


  1. Status after ministry renewal leave: It will be understood that the ministerial staff member is expected to continue in their position up to one year after his ministry renewal leave is completed, otherwise, the ministerial staff member may be expected to repay the Association, part or all costs incurred for, and during, their ministry renewal leave.


  1. Request: The ministerial staff member may request a ministry renewal leave, giving ample time for needed planning and education of the congregation. The request for ministry renewal leave and a written plan must be submitted to the Administrative Team and Executive Board no less than four (4) months before it is to begin.


  1. Plan: Proposals for ministry renewal leaves shall be presented by the ministerial staff member to the Administrative Team and Executive Board and should include the following:
  2. Proposed date
  3. Plans/goals
  4. Activities/learning that will take place
  5. Outline of benefits for the ministerial staff member
  6. Outline of benefits for the Association
  7. Detailed explanation of how the ministerial staff member’s work will be carried out during their absence
  8. Cost to the Association (if any)


  1. Finances: Normal compensation will continue during the ministry renewal leave (salary, housing, medical insurance, staff development, expenses and books). If additional expenses are to be incurred during the ministry renewal leave these must be approved by the Administrative Team and if necessary, the Executive Board.


  1. Approval: The ministry renewal leave will be approved by the Administrative Team and Executive Board. They will consider these factors:
  2. Needs of the individual and/or Association;
  3. Relevance of the staff member’s plans to the ministry of the Association;
  4. Prior job performance;
  5. Satisfactory provisions for carrying out the staff member’s responsibilities during their absence.


  1. Education / Communication: It is the responsibility of both the ministerial staff member, the Administrative Team and the Executive Board to educate the Association’s churches about the ministry renewal leave and why it is being considered. This should include, at minimum, the rationale for a ministry renewal leave, the plan for the ministry renewal leave, and the proper response of the Association’s pastors and churches to the ministerial staff member during ministry renewal leave.


  1. Reporting: An analysis/report will be given to the Administrative Team and Executive Board no more than two (2) months following the ministry renewal leave completion.