General CBF

Sabbatical Covenant: Your church and CBF investing in the health of ministers and churches

The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Sabbatical Covenant is designed to invest in the health of ministers and local congregations. It does this by promoting sabbaticals — making the setting aside of funds easier for churches, providing grants and encouraging significant sabbatical experiences.

Commit together to create a Sabbatical Covenant in your church’s name. Commit together to set aside one week’s salary per year for five years for your pastoral leader. Build together with CBF state/regional organizations, CBF Church Benefits and the CBF Foundation to enhance grant and other sabbatical funding. Fulfill together. After five years, your church withdraws funds set aside for a minister’s sabbatical expenses, to resource rest and renewal that benefits the church through revitalized pastoral leaders.

Why should our congregation invest in the Sabbatical Covenant?

The idea of Sabbath as a time of rest and renewal is introduced in the Book of Genesis, and its impact carries out through all creation. There are both theological and practical reasons for a congregation to invest in sabbatical practices. Thinking of your congregational narrative, consider the value of Sabbath within these three unique chapters of your ministry:

Seeking a Minister: When your congregation is seeking a new minister, consider the value of including a sabbatical experience as part of the ministers salary and benefit package. This will be attractive to the potential minister, and will speak to the value your congregation puts upon the health of their clergy.

Retaining a Minister: Clergy assess their ministry effectiveness every couple of years. Ministers with a planned sabbatical experience are more likely to retain their momentum as they enjoy opportunities to rest and reflect along the way.

Renewing a Minister: For long-term clergy, a sabbatical opportunity is a welcome and needed point of reflection and rest. To invest in sabbatical for a minister is to invest in renewed energy and direction for the congregation.

How does the CBF Sabbatical Covenant benefit our church?

The Sabbatical Covenant offers at least three significant benefits:

  • Sabbatical policies and procedures and other guiding resources for your church.
  • Sabbatical coaching and cohort opportunities for your minister.
  • Grant opportunities for ministers and churches invested in the CBF Sabbatical Covenant.

How does our church get on board?

  • Contact CBF to get the details (call 770.220.1600; email; or visit
  • The church and CBF sign the Sabbatical Covenant.
  • The church contributes funding for five years.
  • The church and minister experience a transforming time of renewal and hope for continued vibrant ministry.

CBF Sabbatical Covenant Step By Step

Commit Together

  • Church and CBF sign the CBF Sabbatical Covenant
  • Church provides funding for the CBF Sabbatical Covenant
    • One week’s salary per year for each of five years is a suggested target.
    • CBF Foundation seeks a modest return on these investments.
    • CBF, CBF Church Benefits and CBF Foundation contribute to a reserve fund to strengthen the ability to generate returns for Covenant participants that are above the historical dollar value of funds invested for CBF Sabbaticals.
    • Covenant participants will be eligible for CBF Sabbatical Grants as grants are available.

Build Together

  • Church considers resources of CBF Church Benefits and the CBF Foundation
    • CBF Church Benefits helps churches and ministers prepare and plan for the future and more.
    • CBF Foundation assists churches and its members with endowments, estate planning and more.
    • Covenant participants in either CBF Church Benefits or the CBF Foundation may enhance grant and other sabbatical funding opportunities.
  • Covenant Participants contact State/Region CBF Organization (SRO)
    • Many SROs provide additional resources to enhance the sabbatical experience.
  • CBF provides sabbatical planning materials to the church and minister after Year Four of funding.
    • Clergy Renewal: The Alban Guide to Sabbatical Planning
    • Renovatio — a renewal resource for congregations and clergy that can be used throughout the sabbatical.
    • CBF will coordinate with partners for education, travel and mission opportunities.
  • Church and minister experience a transforming time of renewal and hope for a continued vibrant ministry.
    • Church contacts CBF and withdraws funds set aside for minister’s sabbatical expenses.
    • Covenant participant contacts SRO to confirm sabbatical resourcing.
    • Covenant participant contacts CBF if interested in applying for a grant to enhance the sabbatical experience.

Fulfill Together

  • Celebration, Evaluation and Reporting:
    • Church and minister plan a return celebration.
    • Share Sabbatical experiences on CBFblog ( to encourage other Covenant participants.
    • Report to any group that has provided Sabbatical funding.

2 thoughts on “Sabbatical Covenant: Your church and CBF investing in the health of ministers and churches

  1. I believe a sabbatical is an excellent opportunity for the minister to withdraw to a quiet relaxing place as he/she examines his/herself and the ministry they provide. It also provides a time of Holy Spirit refreshing while confirming their sence of direction for themselves and the congregation they are leading. The minister and the congregation will both benefit greatly from a regularly planned sabbatical.

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