Sometimes it’s called Study Leave and pastors (and other professionals) are expected to do it. My denomination requires two weeks of study leave annually.
So what counts as Continuing Education? A retreat with Simon Sinek? A Carrie Newcomer concert?
What books can be charged to a clergyperson’s book allowance? Brene Brown? John Green? Jameliah Young-Gooden?
Gone are the days when we clergy spent all our Study Leave time attending preaching conferences – although those conferences are still offered and often recommended. And our books are no longer solely Biblical commentaries.
Which of the activities below would your congregation consider study leave or continuing education? (Select as many as you wish.)
The truth is that – especially for preachers – EVERYTHING can inform out sermon-writing from Marvel movies to medical journals, from romance novels to podcasts about bees. This is how the Holy Spirit works. God uses everything to teach us about the meaning of life and who we are and who God is.
Although we Clergy (and others) are tasked with taking our two weeks of study leave, many pastors I know do not do it. They are offered Sabbaticals after 5-7 years of service, but they do not take those Sabbaticals. Why?
Money is an issue. Many clergy have continuing education budgets that aren’t enough to pay for a conference away from home. And churches sometimes fuss that they also cannot afford to pay for someone to cover for pastors when they are away.
Martyrdom is an issue. Many clergy are “too busy” to take time away or they fear that their congregations will not like it if take vacation and study leave time.
Not understanding the meaning of Continuing Education/Study Leave is an issue. Parishioners call it “vacation” even if you are in classes every day, especially if those classes are in a beautiful place. Some parishioners don’t realize how important it is for the church that their leaders take time to rest and reflect.
I’m curious about Continuing Education for you and/or your church leaders. Do pastors take it? Do elders have to approve it? Is there enough funding to cover it?
Please share. Thanks.