Here’s what the Methodist Church has to say about sabbaticals:
A sabbatical is a gift from the Church to all presbyters and deacons and it is intended that during a sabbatical they will do something different which will inform and perhaps re-enthuse them in their ministry. Sabbaticals are being introduced by many different types of organisations because they are recognised as a way to re-energise people by allowing them to explore a different aspect of their work or undertake some form of study; few organisations however can afford to make them compulsory as the Church has done for ordained ministers. For Methodist presbyters and deacons, a sabbatical is a time of grace allowing them to spend time with God doing something different.
Being faced with taking a sabbatical for the first time may feel like taking a trip into the unknown. It is usually a place of growth and development but it may feel threatening to be faced with no work for three months. Nearly all ministers who have taken that step into the unknown have found it more fulfilling and re-invigorating than they expected. Sabbaticals were introduced to be part of the armoury to prevent burn out and reduce stress amongst presbyters and deacons. They are part of all ministers’ continuing development; a time for refreshment and renewal, a time to be able to hear the still small voice of God.
This will be my second sabbatical, and it comes as a welcome break after a couple of years which have, at time, been pretty intense. Personally, I don’t think I feel particularly threatened by the prospect of being ‘faced with no work for three months’. Rather (to misuse a biblical text), I just want to say “thank you for this indescribable gift!”