Mark’s Sabbatical FAQ’s

Mark’s Sabbatical FAQ’s


Pastor Mark is going on a well deserved sabbatical from May 18 – Aug 19. We wish him a wonderful time of rest and restoration.

BUT, North Campus worship, ministry, and service will continue like usual (thanks to a great support team).

  • Services will still be 10am every Sunday at Swiftwater. 
  • Small groups will still meet
  • Care ministries will still continue
  • Service Sunday on July 2 will still happen
  • Etc.

Jeremy Kidd is taking over a lot Mark’s responsibilities during the sabbatical but so are others. If you have a question, need, or concern during this time here are the primary contacts:

More information about sabbaticals, how North Campus will be operating, and how to contact point people will be posted on our website this weekend. 

This Sunday will be Pastor Mark’s last Sunday until he returns. We wish him the best!


What is a sabbatical leave?

The sabbatical is an important event in the life of both the pastor and the congregation.  It is a period of time during which the pastor steps away from full time active ministry to focus on rest, worship, study and personal spiritual development.  Harbor Covenant Church has a policy that encourages and supports active full-time pastors to take a sabbatical for the above purposes.  Pastors with Mark’s tenure in full-time ministry are eligible to take a 12 week sabbatical.

What are the dates Mark will be gone?

Mark will begin his sabbatical on Thursday, May 18, 2023.  He will return from his sabbatical on Saturday, August 19, 2023, however; his first Sunday of preaching will be September 3.

What will he do during the time of the sabbatical?

Mark’s primary focus during his time away will be rest and spiritual refreshment.  He’s planning to spend significant time away from the Gig Harbor area visiting relatives, backpacking in California and spending periods of quiet personal time away in Oregon, resting, reflecting, and focusing on his walk with God.  He also plans to spend time with his family and some specific time with Kelli.

How will Mark’s absence affect the North campus?

Planning for Mark’s sabbatical began several months ago.  A preaching schedule has been developed to cover each Sunday during his absence, two of which will be a Service Sunday on July 2, and a family worship Sunday on July 30.  Jeremy Kidd will be the primary contact person during Mark’s sabbatical.  Kyle Parker and Jeremy will plan the worship services, including the AV, technical and posting videos for the North campus.  Specific team leaders are shown below as primary contacts in case of need or questions

Will there still be a monthly Men’s group while Mark is away?

Men’s group will still be held and led by other members of our community. We recognize the importance of this group and want to ensure that it continues to provide a supportive and enriching space for men to gather and connect.

Is Mark leaving the church?

Unequivocally no!  The time away on sabbatical is planned to help Mark rest, be refreshed and reenergized to lead the North campus for many years into the future.

Why is there a need for sabbatical?

According to Bill & Kristi Gaultiere, Doctors of Psychology and Spiritual Directors with over 25 years of experience in counseling and church ministry, many research studies have shown the pastoral work is acutely stressful, draining, and exhausting for pastors and their families.  In their publication “A Sabbatical Guide for Pastors”, they cite the following statistics on pastor stress:

  • 90% of pastors work 55 to 75 hours per week.
  • 90% feel fatigue and are worn out every week.
  • 91% have experienced some form of burnout.
  • 70% have a lower self-esteem than when they entered the ministry.
  • 70% fight depression.
  • The average seminary trained pastor lasts only five years in professional ministry.

Harbor Covenant Church recognizes both the contribution that Mark has made in the birth and life of the North campus.  At the same time, those efforts will wear anybody out and it’s the intent of the church to provide this opportunity to put Mark on a path that will prepare him for the next several years of his ministry.

Can I reach Mark while he is on sabbatical?

The simple answer is, “No.” Mark will be intentionally unavailable for most of his sabbatical for the purpose of separating his identity from his role as pastor.  He will not be trying to avoid anyone for relationship purposes, but the plan is for him to have limited contact with people. In addition, he will be gone for long periods of time, so it is highly likely that he will not be able to provide immediate responses to any inquiries or attempts to contact him. If you see Mark around Gig Harbor, please say “Hi,” but avoid any discussions about ministry. He’s not avoiding relationships, just ministry engagement.

How can we support Mark, Kelli, and Jeremy during this time?

  • Pray for rest, refreshment, renewal & rejuvenation for Mark
  • Honor the need to detach from the role of pastoring for Mark
  • While Kelli will still attend the North campus as this is her church family, please honor Kelli’s role as spouse by not bringing ministry concerns to her or using her to get in touch with Mark.
  • Support Jeremy in prayer and by committing to be a faithful and regular volunteer.

Who do I contact if I have a need for support or want to help?

Jeremy Kidd will be the primary point of contact for the North campus during Mark’s sabbatical.  However, it is very appropriate to reach out to the ministry team leader for the topical area of your question or concern.  Here are the team leaders that you can feel comfortable reaching out to: