Time Out: Short Sabbaticals for Research

The pressures of pastoral ministry rarely permit the busy pastor time to think through subjects that you have an ongoing interest in or issues that have come up in the course of your ministry in the 21st century.​

This part of the Centre for Mission makes provision for Sabbaticals, shorter or longer periods of time that you can get away and do some serious thinking and research.  These short research periods can extend from a week to three months or more, with or without supervision. 

Such sabbaticals can be of real help for pastors or others who are rethinking through ethical, biblical, theological, historical, ecclesiastical or missiological issues which will impact their congregational life and mission in the 21st century.

Below are some examples of sabbatical research that will help you to choose your area for short-term research.

Play Video

Check out this video where ETS Vice Principal John Angus Macleod and Sabbatical Studies student Irene Bayne speak about the Sabbatical Studies course.

Sabbatical Study

Theological Issues

What kind of theological issues might you like to spend time researching? Here are some that might interest you:

  • Evolution, Intelligent Design, Creation – does it matter?
  • How can the authority of Scripture be defended in the modern world?
  • What does salvation mean and how can I best present that today?
  • How can I best present the theme of covenant theology to a people who do not think covenantally?

Sabbatical Study

Ecclesiastical Issues

What kind of ethical issues might you like to spend time researching? Perhaps the following sort of questions may help you decide:

  • What place do women have in the leadership of the church according to Scripture?
  • How can I best co-operate with other church groups when I disagree with the way they govern their church?
  • Can evangelical churches work with ‘mixed’ denominations in spreading the gospel?

Sabbatical Study

Mission in the 21st Century

What kind of mission issues might you like to spend time researching?  Some important questions are:

  • How can I motivate my congregation to engage in mission?
  • Should there be specific training for mission shared by those who have served before?
  • Or has society changed so much that there is little to learn from the past?
  • What role do short mission trips have in preparing people?

Sabbatical Study

Current Issues in Mission

What kind of mission issues might you like to spend time researching?  Questions that some have asked are listed below:

  • What are the key principles to be aware of when we seek to cross cultures with the gospel?
  • Is this something that only occurs in crossing continents, or can it happen in reaching sub-cultures in the UK?
  • How can we best engage in dialogue with those of other religions without compromising our faith?

Sabbatical Study


What kind of discipleship issues might you like to spend time researching?  Many issues might arise here such as:

  • What are the best ways to disciple new Christians in the faith?
  • What about people who professed faith long ago – how can they still be discipled?
  • What are the biblical goals for discipleship?
  • Should discipleship be carried out one-to-one or in groups?

Sabbatical Study


What kind of evangelism and church planting issues might you like to spend time researching?  Have you asked questions like these:

  • What are the best ways to teach our church leaders to see the role they should have in evangelism of church families?
  • What about those who are unchurched – who should reach them?  Every member? Or should we select, train and send a few?
  • How does prayer really fit in with our evangelistic ministry?

Sabbatical Study

Ethical Issues

What kind of ethical issues might you like to spend time researching? Do the following sort of issues require some research on your part?

  • How should we deal with the huge changes in the way in which sexuality and gender are now viewed?
  • How can I best welcome those who once were part of that world and disciple them in the faith?
  • In what ways can the church promote our love of the elderly in a society that accepts euthanasia?

Sabbatical Study

Biblical Studies Issues

What kind of Biblical Studies issues might you like to spend time researching? Perhaps questions like the following occur to you:

  • What is the best way of preaching through a book taking account of its main structure, argument and themes?
  • Is it really desirable or possible to preach from the Minor Prophets?
  • How can I preach on a book the size of Isaiah?
  • How should I teach the continuity between the Old Testament and the New?

Interested in taking a Sabbatical Studies at ETS?

Find out more about 
Edinburgh Theological Seminary


EMAIL: [email protected]
TEL: 0131 226 5286


Edinburgh Theological Seminary
15 North Bank Street

The Centre for Mission is part of 
Edinburgh Theological Seminary

Check out our range of courses:

Copyright © 2020 Edinburgh Theological Seminary.
All rights reserved.  

 Scottish Charity Number: SC012925

Site Design: Fivepenny Media