Shillington, Pennsylvania: New Shepherds Orientation Workshop # 18: generous and loving relationship in the leadership team

The good brethren in Shillington, Pennsylvania, invited me to lead my first New Shepherds Orientation Workshop in the northeast. Shillington is a town about seventy miles northwest of Philadelphia.

Left to right: Ralph Weis, Kathleen Weis, Jerrie Barber, Gail Barber, Venus Deane, Ajay Deane, Dennis Buchert, Tammy Janelle, Rick Janelle

To learn more about the brethren in Shillington:

Their preacher, Rick Janelle’s blog:

The brethren and their wives were well-prepared and participated in the workshop with enthusiasm.

Gail and I stayed with Rick and Tammy Janelle. We stayed after the workshop and visited Lancaster County and Hersey, Pennsylvania. Their house was our hotel headquarters. We appreciated their hospitality.

The graduation Sunday morning was a highlight as the elders and preacher shared their “mustard seeds” — something they learned and something they planned to do as a result of the workshop.

An unusual and great thing I learned was their sabbatical policy for their preacher.

Here is a clause in Rick’s contract:

Our church provides the Evangelist with a sabbatical leave of two (2) months after each five (5) years of full-time ministry with our church. During each sabbatical, the Evangelist is paid his full Cash Salary including Benefits. It is the Evangelist’s responsibility to share with the Elders at least one year prior to beginning each sabbatical, the developing plans for time away. Upon the Evangelist’s return, we will invite him to share with the church an overview of activities and learnings from each sabbatical. Unless otherwise agreed before each sabbatical, we expect that the Evangelist will continue as our Evangelist for at least 12 months after his return.

Rick’s comments:

I have taken 2 such leaves so far in my time here, and really have come to see it’s wisdom, both for me and for the church.
Both times, the church has agreed to pay for most of the sabbatical expenses like travel, meals, and educational materials. I have paid for “tourist” stuff, and for any expenses incurred by Tammy.

My observations:

In fifty-eight years of ministry, in three of the five congregations I served full-time, I experienced fatigue and a feeling of being overwhelmed after five years. I asked for a one-month sabbatical during a difficult time at one congregation. They ignored my request. I made it another four years. Time away would have improved my perspective.

In my last work, the elders and I started discussing a three-month sabbatical after five years to be taken after seven years with the church:

It was the best gift I was ever given in my ministry. We came back refreshed and excited to get back into our work. Seven years later, I retired from full-time located ministry to begin interim ministry.

I applaud the brethren in Shillington, Pennsylvania, for their love and foresight to cultivate a long-term healthy relationship with their preacher.

They were kind to us during our visit October 18-20, 2019.

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Jerrie Barber
Servant of Jesus, husband to Gail, father to Jerrie Wayne Barber, II and Christi Parsons, grandfather, great-grandfather, Interim Preacher, Shepherd coach, Ventriloquist, barefoot runner, ride a cruiser bicycle

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