Intentional times of rest: 7th week sabbaticals

Whenever I talk about rest or burnout, I often mention the importance of taking regular time off.

In order to maintain proper perspective on work, you and your team need regularly scheduled time to get away and rest. It’s your responsibility as the leader to make sure your team has healthy habits and rhythms of serving.

There are so many ways you can take regular time off. It could planning family vacations once or twice a year. Maybe you take a certain day off each week as a weekly sabbath. You might even have personal spiritual retreats seasonally. No matter what it looks like, you must have regular, intentional times of rest.

There are 2 keys to regularly taking time off to rest: consistency and planning.

  1. Be consistent. The power of rest comes when rest becomes a regular habit in your life. Just like you work regularly, you must rest regularly so you’re always working from a place of rest. Whether it’s weekly, monthly, seasonally, or annually, the key is to create regular, intentional times of rest.
  2. Plan your times of rest. You might know how much you need to rest and still struggle with making time to get away. To combat this, commit to rest and write it down. If you know you want a weekly sabbath, mark that on your family’s calendar. This helps you say no to anything you might be tempted to say yes to on that day, and over time you’ll train your brain to know every Friday is your sabbath.

How do you rest from your work on a regular basis? What rhythms of rest do you have daily, weekly, monthly, seasonally, or annually?

7th week sabbaticals

A rhythm of rest I’ve always wanted to try is taking a 7th week sabbatical. I first heard of 7th week sabbaticals from my friend Sean McCabe. Sean took the traditional sabbatical concept (a paid study break usually given to professors, educators and pastors every 7 years), and modified it as a regular rhythm of rest for his own business. He keeps it simple: every 7th week he and his team take a week off.

When I first heard of Sean’s 7th week sabbatical concept, I was skeptical. Is this even possible for someone who doesn’t own their own business or control over their own schedule?

Since then, I’ve wanted to try this for myself, but the challenge is, I can’t start taking every 7th week off from my full time church job (at least, not yet). As I’ve been thinking of ways I could work this out, the first step I can take is start taking every 7th week off from The Production Pastor.

I wasn’t sure about it at first but it makes sense: it’s both consistent and something I can plan and commit to. So, starting September 23, 2019 I will take every 7th week off from The Production Pastor.

My own 7th week sabbatical

The first step to take is writing down when I’ll start. I already have my starting date: September 23rd, 2019. To keep my plan consistent, I added it to my calendar as “TPP Sabbatical Week” and set it to repeat every 7th week with no end date.

The second step is to decide what these sabbatical weeks will look like. The goal is to rest, but I still want to share valuable content with you, so while there won’t be new posts during sabbatical weeks, I’ll still send you a small note in the weekly newsletter.

I’m doing my best to keep it simple and start small. The ultimate goal here is to develop a regular, intentional time of rest. Of course I’ll still be working at my full time job, but this gives me a regular break from The Production Pastor so I can come back refreshed and renewed, ready to help other technical artists. Who knows, this habit might be something I can implement with my production team at church.

Follow sabbatical updates

I’m extremely excited to start taking 7th week sabbaticals, even if this is only the first step. I’d love to have you join me on this journey. I’ll continue to post regular updates in the weekly newsletter.

Finally, take a moment to plan your own times of rest. Are you currently taking regular time off to rest and be renewed? Are you in a place where you feel overworked and need to take a break?

You have to make time for rest – it doesn’t come naturally. You have to protect your times of rest when you do get away. What ways will you start planning and scheduling intentional times of rest for yourself?


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