my sabbatical plans
A man with a suitcase walking out of a tunnel towards an open road and the sunrise. Photo by Mantas Hesthaven on Unsplash

In a previous post, I discussed what sabbaticals are about and wondered what I should do for mine. Now I can tell you my plans.

In that post, I wrote:

A sabbatical is a time to get away from regular work for a period of personal and professional development in order to improve my value to my employer. It should refresh my vision for my personal mission and my employer’s organizational mission and equip me in some way to be a better leader.

Personal Development

I found my board very helpful in designing the sabbatical. A really practical suggestion was to take time at the beginning and end to transition into and out of my time away from work. So I’ve decided to start with a short time at home followed by a spiritual retreat at The Sabbath House. At the end, I will do the same thing in reverse order. This is the personal development time.

Professional Development

For the professional development part I was in a bit of a quandary. I’ve already taken courses and earned my doctorate, so what to do? Larry Nelson, a CCCC board member and a font of endless creative ideas, came to the rescue with some excellent questions that surfaced five possible research topics. I recall the questions were something like, regarding Christian ministries:

  • What are you really passionate about?
  • What are you curious about?
  • What are you concerned about?
  • What upsets you?

He suggested that my professional development should involve applying my research skills to some big topics that are beyond what my work schedule would normally allow me to do. He also asked when I was last off the continent. Aside from a few business meetings where you don’t see much more than the hotel, I was last overseas in 1974. CCCC members have missions around the world, so I need to be there with them and get a firsthand glimpse of the complexities of overseas work. Putting this all together, two research projects emerged:

  1. To research the effects that different tax systems have on Christian charities, their donors and support organizations such as CCCC. A whole list of research questions will provide benefits to CCCC and our members. Stay tuned for some interesting CCCC Bulletin articles and blog posts!
  2. To explore the complexities of operating international projects from the perspective of administrators in the receiving countries. There will be lots of new CCCC material to help our members and their overseas project administrators. I’ll be visiting ministries in Thailand, India, Kenya, Malawi, and Rwanda.

Personal Interest

Finally, it was suggested that there should be some down time that is purely personal. I finish the research part in London, so I will take two weeks in Great Britain and France to do some things I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I will attend a service at the Luton parish church in England where my paternal grandfather sang as a choir boy more than 100 years ago. I also will attend the Abbey church in Paisley, Scotland where my maternal great-great-great-great-grandfather was baptized in 1786. He emigrated to Canada almost 200 years ago. It will be fun to look around the areas that my ancestors came from. Last, I will go to Vimy Ridge and visit the Canadian monument. Every time I give my Vimy Ridge speech, someone asks if I’ve been there. I want to be able to say “Yes!”

So those are my plans. I’m keenly excited! The sabbatical will be next spring, but there is lots of prep work before then to be ready to use my overseas time as productively as possible. A collateral benefit of this sabbatical will be the chance to build connections with charity experts in other countries. I have been richly blessed by a wonderful, visionary board that encourages me to live in the future so that I can better lead CCCC in the present. And I am grateful for a capable staff that gives me the freedom to have a sabbatical knowing the great work of CCCC does not depend solely on me!

[I blogged the entire sabbatical. The first post is here.]

I’m still very interested in what others do for a sabbatical, so please contribute a comment about what you have already done or are planning to do.

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