By: Jeff Patton

A friend asked if I could help plan a mid-career sabbatical.  My friend wanted to know the best way to use these months away from a long pastorate (15 years).  After writing these questions down, I thought, “these are critical questions, pretty much on a daily basis.”  So I share them with you.

Please talk with your spouse or your ministry team about these questions.  And if you have the time, let me know your responses. (

How tired are you, really….?   (When I took a sabbatical (1993) I slept 12 hours a day for a month.)

How is your health?  Have you had your routine physicals, exams?

What is your vision for your ministry for the next ten years?

Are you planning on staying at this church?

What is your vision for this church?

Are you looking for a new challenge?

How old are you and when do you plan on retirement?

If money weren’t an issue, what would you do with the next 20 years?

How is your marriage?  What does you spouse think about these questions?

Do you have grandchildren?  Will you?  How important is it to you to be in their lives?

If you relocate, where do you want to spend the coldest winter five years from now?

What dreams and visions for your life are yet unfulfilled?

If the doctor said you only have two years to live, what would you do differently?  What about two months?

What you do with your life is your responsibility.

If your mission is to climb trees…which would you rather do:

1)         Hire a Squirrel

2)         Train a Horse

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