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Pastor Sean's Sabbatical

Info & FAQs

A Note from the Elder Team

This summer marks the 7th year since a group of families founded Reach in the heart of Downtown Everett.

Over this time, this church family has been a conduit of God's grace, introducing individuals to Jesus, welcoming prodigals home, nurturing believers, collaborating with nonprofits, and serving our city. While we've observed significant growth, it feels like we're only scratching the surface.

Acknowledging the profound impact Reach has made over the last seven years, it's crucial to recognize the weight carried by key leaders, notably Reach's lead pastor and founder, Sean Gasperetti.

Following much prayer, thoughtful consideration, discussions with outside council, and careful planning, Reach's Elder team has unanimously decided to grant the Gasperetti family a sabbatical in the upcoming summer of 2024. This decision is seen as a blessing to Sean, his family, and the continued vitality of Reach.

Rooted in the biblical concept of Sabbath and observed by numerous churches and denominations, a sabbatical represents a scheduled and extended departure from ministry for the purpose of rest, recovery, and encountering God's grace. Sabbaticals can be either proactive or reactive, and we are thrilled that this one is a proactive choice, as both Sean and Reach are currently in a healthy state. The shepherding capacity of our staff and Elder teams is substantial, multiple small groups foster community throughout the region, ministries are flourishing, and our finances stand firm. God's generosity has been consistent within our church family, allowing us to take this step confidently and joyfully.

The motive behind providing a sabbatical for Sean and his family is to honor their seven years of dedicated service (eight, including the pre-planting phase and fifteen in pastoral ministry). It is an opportunity to offer a period of rest from pastoring, teaching, and vision casting, while also investing in their long-term well-being. This season is intended for celebration, reflection, and basking in God's faithfulness and love towards them. Importantly, this sabbatical is not intended to be a season of productivity—no sermons will be preached, sermon series planned, conferences attended, or pastoral expectations carried.

The sabbatical will afford the Gasperetti family the space to disengage and relish the gift of simply being, free from the pressures of public ministry. We view it as a grace for Sean to experience Jesus as the Lord of his rest, just as much as He is Lord over the impact of his ministry.

Additionally, this sabbatical serves as a declaration and reminder to our church that Reach revolves around one person, and that person is Jesus. Each of us plays a small yet crucial role in this local expression of the body of Christ known as Reach. We have been blessed with a remarkable number of mature leaders—both on staff and in our church family—in our mission to reach the city with the love of Jesus. This mission is too significant for one person or one organization to achieve. We encourage you to seize this occasion to seek God's guidance on how you can take greater ownership of Jesus' command to make disciples, no matter the nature of the context He has placed you in.

While we will formally honor and send off the Gasperetti family into the sabbatical at the end of May, we invite you to join us in prayer during the interim. Pray for Sean's strength to finish the first half of the year strong, for God's abundant provision to continue meeting our needs, and for every person in Reach to play their role as the Holy Spirit leads and guides us.

Reach Elders
Russ Perron and Sean Gasperetti
Advisory Council
Bob Stone, Kyle Veach, Chris Rich
The Gasperettis: Sean, Kara, Adelie (8) and Leo (5)


What is a sabbatical? 
A sabbatical, in a Christian context, is a deliberate and extended period of rest and renewal for individuals engaged in vocational ministry, particularly pastors, often taken during increments of 7 years. Rooted in the biblical concept of Sabbath, sabbaticals aim to emulate God's pattern of work and rest. During a sabbatical, ministers step away from their regular duties to engage in intentional practices of spiritual, physical, and emotional rejuvenation. This dedicated time allows for deep reflection, spiritual growth, and the pursuit of personal and professional development. The goal is not only to prevent burnout but also to ensure that ministers return to their roles with a refreshed spirit, enhanced perspective, and a renewed sense of calling. (For more, check out this podcast from Pete Scazzero at Emotionally Healthy Spirituality.)

How was the timing of the sabbatical determined?
During the summer of 2020, Pastor Sean's mentor, Pastor Bob Stone, mentioned he should plan to take a sabbatical in 2024. Bob emphasized the importance of hitting reset and experiencing much-needed rest after seven years of intense church planting and leadership, as well as about 15 years of pastoral ministry. Pastor Sean and Kara had been discussing this concept for the last few years but knew that the church was not yet in a position to sustain such a change. Now, thanks to the installation of two additional elders and a strong associate pastor back in September 2023, the opportunity finally made sense. Sean presented a proposal to the other elders, and all three of them discerned God's timing and purpose for the sabbatical, leading to a unanimous decision that 2024 was the appropriate time.

I've heard pastors come back from sabbaticals and announce their resignation. Should we brace ourselves for Pastor Sean to resign this fall?
Absolutely not! Pastor Sean has made it clear in the proposal that he will not be searching for another job and is committed to leading the Reach community in the year that follows. Furthermore, Sean feels no sense of being released from this ministry and, in fact, feels invigorated for the season(s) ahead. This sabbatical is simply a pitstop, allowing routine maintenance and a focus on abiding in Christ in order to endure ministry for the long haul.

How long will this sabbatical be?
The sabbatical will run for approximately 14 weeks, between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Can we reach out to Pastor Sean during the sabbatical?
In short, the answer is no. The goal of this time is for Pastor Sean and his family to disengage as much as possible from the responsibilities of the church, which means limiting contact with the local body. However, there will be plenty of time before the end of May to connect, have conversations, and appreciate his leadership/teaching.

Who will lead the church in Sean's absence?
We have full confidence in the ministry staff and elders at Reach, and we are excited for them to carry our community during the summer. Pastor Andrew and Tayla will be working side by side to handle the overall responsibilities and ministry of the church. Our volunteer elder (Russ Perron) as well as our external Advisory Council (Bob Stone, Kyle Veach, and Chris Rich) will provide accountability and encouragement to the staff and church as well. Other members of our team will take on certain responsibilities, all under the leadership of those two groups. 

I've been at my job for a long time but have never taken a sabbatical. Why would something like this be important for a pastor?
That's a great question. The uniqueness of pastoral ministry is different from many other jobs in that your entire person is wrapped up in your role. There is no specific off switch, no true "days off," and your entire family is deeply involved. Additionally, the spiritual pressures of carrying the weight of shepherding believers and representing the heart of God to people are heavy. Many pastors feel overwhelmed by such responsibilities, and areas like rest, character development, and personal brokenness can be neglected. In a normal job, personal struggles don't necessarily impact employability, but for pastors, personal struggles often bleed into their profession. Therefore, prioritizing a pastor's ability to tend to their own soul is absolutely imperative for long-term faithfulness and fruitfulness. We are providing this sabbatical for Pastor Sean with these important factors in mind.

Did Pastor Sean do something wrong that requires him to take a step back for a season?
Absolutely not. This sabbatical is not disciplinary nor in response to some crisis. This is merely a long-overdue rhythm of rest that we feel excited to provide for a local church pastor who has been faithfully serving this region for the last 15 years.

This sounds awesome, and I'd like to be an encouragement to the Gasperetti family. How can I do that?
That's great! Writing a kind note, sharing an encouraging word, or blessing them with some provision are all welcomed gestures. Most importantly, please commit to praying for them (Kara, Adelie, and Leo) leading up to the sabbatical and during those three months while they are away.

Who will be teaching on Sundays during Pastor Sean's absence?
Pastor Andrew will be carrying about half of the Sunday teachings, and we are excited to get to know him better through that avenue. Our youth lead, Jon, will also have opportunities to teach. We have a handful of lay leaders who will receive additional training and have the opportunity to preach as well. Additionally, we will invite seasoned and trusted guest speakers to share with us over the course of the 3 months.

This feels like a lot of change, especially for Sunday preaching. I'm tempted to attend less. Is that okay?
If anything, we would encourage you to lean in even more during these three months! We have the blessing of hearing from a variety of voices in the body of Christ, and it's an opportunity to encourage our in-house leaders as they step up to the pulpit. This is a great time for our church to actively engage and be an encouragement and presence, rather than pulling back when it feels uncomfortable.

Is there anything I can do to help the church during this time?
You bet. Jump in to help serve, give faithfully to help the ministry’s finances, and be the church God is calling you to be! Show up to events, invite friends, attend or start a group, host a meet-up, and help create meaningful community here at Reach. For our staff, support them with words of encouragement and offer your support — especially Andrew and Tayla who will be leading the charge. Finally, commit to praying for your leaders and for the will of God to come to pass in our church, local community, and beyond!

Got additional questions? 

Email and we'll do our best to respond ASAP.