Toran's Sabbatical - FAQs

Q: What is a sabbatical and why is it good?

  • Sabbatical is a directed time of refreshment and restoration. It is time for slowing, drawing closer, listening more carefully, and being present to yourself and family.

  • Sabbatical comes from the biblical understanding of Sabbath. The Israelites were called by God every seventh year to abstain from working the fields. Just as we are called to rest with our sabbath on a weekly basis, the church needs to encourage ministry leaders to take periods of longer rest for the purpose of renewal and rejuvenation.

  • In 2022, Barna Research Group found that 40% of pastors in the United States were reporting burnout and considering a change from pastoral ministry. In 2015, that number was 15%. Elongated stress is one of the major factors in burnout among pastors, and can negatively impact both physical and mental health. One of the ways to help and support pastors is to encourage and provide space for elongated rest and renewal through Sabbatical.

Q: Why is Toran taking a sabbatical now?

  • It is recommended that pastors take a sabbatical every 7 years. Toran has been working in ministry for over 28 years and has never taken one! This decision is proactive and comes from our care for Toran; it is not due to any concerns (Toran will gladly tell you he is not experiencing burnout). We want Toran to experience this deep rest, so he can be the best version of himself for a long time to come here at TLC.

  • We applied for and were awarded a grant from the Lilly Endowment for Clergy Renewal which fully funds this sabbatical! If you’d like to learn more, check here.

Q: What are the dates of Toran’s sabbatical?

  • May 13 to July 29. It is recommended that there be a slow transition back into full responsibility, and we have planned that he will be fully back teaching and leading by mid-August!

Q: What will Toran be doing while on sabbatical?

  • This time will mostly be a slow season to connect more with God, family and friends - but he does have some plans! Two things Toran will do are a silent retreat and a spiritual renewal trip with his long-time mentor. Toran is also working with a sabbatical coach to prepare for and provide some insight throughout the sabbatical (pre, during and post) and will also continue spiritual direction with his mentor (Dr. Philip Bustrum) as well. He also expects to have some fun creating art, repairing an old car he hopes he can get running again, enjoying relaxed time with Jesus and his family and just being slow and reflective.

Q: How disconnected will Toran actually be?

  • Toran will be fully disconnected from all pastoral responsibilities at TLC - his phone number and email address will be deactivated! He will be attending other churches strictly to worship, learn and receive from the Spirit. He also won’t be engaging with discipleship meetings, premarital counseling, etc. Although his children will probably still be engaged at TLC this summer, he and Brenda will be intentionally disconnecting during the sabbatical.

Q: Does the church pay pastors when they’re on sabbatical?

  • Yes - we believe that this time of rest and refreshment is essential to Toran’s role as TLC’s lead pastor and as such, we pay his normal salary during this time. This is an investment in him and his family.

  • The previously mentioned grant provides all of the funds for Toran’s additional sabbatical experiences such as the silent retreat and spiritual renewal trip.

Q: How will this affect TLC? Our teaching and governance?

  • TLC will move forward as normal! Our Leadership Team will continue as-is with Jordan functioning in Toran’s position as Chair when needed; Tom Bos will continue as co-chair and Amanda Partlo as secretary.

  • Jordan serves as TLC’s Executive Pastor, and as such will carry on staff leadership and coordination with our Waters Edge family of churches. He will (under the covering of our Board and the Leadership of Central Wesleyan Church) lead in Toran’s absence.

  • Austin will be overseeing our summer teaching schedule and will be teaching half of the Sundays along with a few guests and our other pastors, Jordan and Adam. Part of the sabbatical grant that TLC was awarded will help cover the expense of two guest teachers.

Q: Will other pastors on staff be able to receive a sabbatical?

  • The board will be developing guidelines on meaningful sabbatical practices for our pastoral staff. Toran was allowed to go first as the weight of spiritual leadership is heaviest for lead pastors.

  • All of our pastoral staff deserve some time for sabbatical and we will be working on appropriate funds and space for them in the future. We anticipate Jordan (our Executive Pastor) taking his first sabbatical in 20 years of ministry next summer.