Sabbatical Policy by Pastor Dave Williams

Sabbatical Policy
Pastor Dave Williams, D. Min., D.D.

Pastor Dave WilliamsDr. Dave Williams, D. Min. is pastor of Mount Hope Church and International Outreach Ministries in Lansing, Michigan. Under his leadership, the church has grown from 225 to over 4000 members today. Pastor Dave strives to have the best-fed, best-cared for flock in the world, to provide a warm and welcoming place to worship, to take the message of the Gospel to the lost—no matter where in the world they are—and to build believers so they are prepared to share Jesus with everyone they meet.

He has a heart for missions and a strong commitment to evangelize the lost. His God-given vision has led Mount Hope Church to sponsor over 43 daughter and neighborhood churches in Michigan, the Philippines, and in several African nations. Over 12,000 people now call a Mount Hope Church their home church.

He has authored over 63 books including the best seller, The New Life…The Start of Something Wonderful, with over 2 million copies sold in eight languages, and The Miracle Results of Fasting, (Harrison House Publishers) was an five-star top seller for two years in a row. Dave has produced over 90 audio and video programs including the nationally acclaimed School of Pacesetting Leadership and Church Planter’s School.


sabbaticalOur Sabbath rest is by faith. Under faith we can cease from our own works. Works that were required for the Israelites to do in the Old covenant to be accepted by God In this way the believer enters in and ceases from his own labors. God was bringing Israel to the Promised Land after their labors in Egypt this typifies rest in Messiah.

Hebrews 4:3-11
“For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said: “So I swore in My wrath, they shall not enter My rest,” although the works were finished from the foundation of the world For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works”; and again in this place: “They shall not enter My rest Since therefore it remains that some must enter it, and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience, again He designates a certain day, saying in David, “Today,” after such a long time, as it has been said: “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts. For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.

Hebrews 4:9-10
So then, there remains a sabbath rest for the people of God [it is available to us now]; for whoever enters God’s rest also ceases from his labors as God did from his.

That is what the true sabbath is, to cease from your own labors, your own efforts, your own activity; to cease from your own works.



Rest is important. Your ability to work depends on your capacity to rest. We need to be able to rest physically and mentally. Sleep is very important in the balance of life. Hallucinations can even develop with prolonged sleep deprivation.

Spiritual rest is important too. God wants us to rest in His goodness. He gave us a physical rest and a spiritual rest. We know we need 6-8 hours of sleep a night. That is common knowledge. We also need spiritual rest. God calls that the Sabbath. And sometimes we need an extended rest from the routine.  That is called a “Sabbatical.” We rest in the goodness of God. We rest in the fact that He takes our sins away. We acknowledge Him as Creator.

A few thoughts on rest:

First of all, it’s not a cessation of activity – rather a change in activity.

Second, good rest, true rest, is restorative. It will leave us ready and willing to get back to our normal routine, and we’ll be better at what we normally do because we rested.

Third, mental rest is just as important as physical rest, not to mention the need our spirit and soul have for rest.

Fourth, the best rest comes from God:

Isaiah 30:15-16
For thus the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, has said, “In repentance and rest you will be saved, In quietness and trust is your strength.” But you were not willing, And you said, “No, for we will flee on horses,” Therefore you shall flee! “And we will ride on swift horses,” Therefore those who pursue you shall be swift.

Matthew 11:28-30
Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.

Ps. 127:2

It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.


What a Sabbatical is not:

  1. A Vacation
  2. A time to exclusively work on an unrelated project

What a Sabbatical is:

  1. A time off from the regular routine – a change in activity
  2. A time to refresh and restore and allow God to re-create
  3. A time to seek God and study His Word

Mount Hope Church Sabbatical Policy:

  1. After seven years of full time service to Mount Hope Church and Pastor Dave Williams, a minister is qualified for a Sabbatical provided he/she has been fruitful in ministry
  2. Executive ministers – 3 months; Associate ministers – 2 months; Assistant ministers – 1 month.  The Sabbatical must be taken all at one time (no splitting up the months).
  3. No two ministers shall take a sabbatical at the same time until the church is at a regular 10,000 in Sunday morning attendance.
  4. The minister taking the sabbatical shall have all work up to date, and have an appointed, qualified replacement – one person in charge.  The executive pastor shall approve the delegate.
  5. Application for sabbatical must be made in advance and approved by pastor or his official delegate.
  6. A Sabbatical may be requested every seventh year.

There shall be no double-sabbaticals. For example, if pastor puts a minister on mandatory sabbatical to get something straightened out (attitude, marriage, etc.), that counts as his/her sabbatical for that seven-year period.