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Sabbatical in the Office

Instead of taxiing down the runway towards a three-month getaway, I embarked on a day-to-day hike through the wilderness of weariness — a sabbatical in the midst of work.
— Greg Asimakoupoulos

Emotional exhaustion, physical weariness, spiritual anorexia. Twelve years of task-oriented ministry had taken its toll. I was battling pastoral burnout, and I was losing. Ironically, the very week the Allied Forces were claiming victory in the Persian Gulf War, my own spirit was surrendering to battle fatigue.

As I prepared my messages for Holy Week, the cross of Good Friday became a symbol of my mental anguish. I was hanging lifelessly on the cross of depression, laboring to breathe under the suffocating weight of routine pastoral demands.

In a conversation with my superintendent, I confessed despair. He suggested a four-syllable remedy: sabbatical.

An extended time away from the never-ending responsibilities of the church (with full pay) was not a foreign concept to me. Two of my closest colleagues ...

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