Rest, Relationships, Relating to Partners: Balancing the “Three Rs” of Furlough

By on February 3, 2020   /   Leave a comment

Setting the Stage

The foundation of honoring God in the stewardship of our lives as servants on His behalf is love: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind…Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39). In order to love God and others, you need to take care of, yes love, yourself. Furlough is a time for those serving cross-culturally to take care of themselves and their families, including their partners, in order to have the capacity to take care of others. 

The ministry I serve with asks our members to approach their furlough time intentionally, for the maximum benefit of themselves, their family, and those who partner with them. The ultimate goal is to honor and love God and others as instructed in His Word. It’s a matter of good biblical stewardship. 

The Purpose of Furlough

How many times have you, or someone you know, finished a time of furlough as exhausted or tired as when it started? 

Renewing one’s passion to minister to others requires prayer, real rest and renewal, and reporting or relating to your partners in ministry – sharing the return on investment being achieved through your service and activities. 

Think of your time in thirds, balancing the “Three Rs”: Rest, Relationships, Relating to partners. In order to maintain control of your furlough pace and ensure the balance you need, consider mapping out a plan and scheduling times for each of the Rs before you even board the plane to return home. 


To allow members a period of time in their home culture to promote physical, mental and spiritual wellness, i.e. to get the rest, renewal and focused rehab or counseling they or their family members need.


To enable members to renew relationships with their extended families.

Relating to Partners

  • To enable members to personally report to, minister to, and enhance relationships with their ministry partners so they can return to their field of service with adequate prayer and financial support.  
  • To increase their financial partnership team as needed so that a full prayer and provision team goes back with them.  
  • To complete any required or requested professional development. 

Furloughs in our organizational setting include a combination of personal and vacation time, partnership development (PD) time, and might include a temporary ‘home assignment’ that contributes to the work they are involved in. It could also include time for study and/or education so they can contribute in a new way, or with greater capacity, when they return to their field assignment. Furloughs generally don’t exceed three months for each consecutive year of overseas service, with a maximum total of twelve months, including accrued personal time. Members who need time beyond their approved furlough can request an appropriate leave. Examples might include medical, bereavement, or family care leaves. 

Do you know your organization’s furlough policies? Are you taking all of the furlough time you are granted? What expectations does your ministry have for staff on furlough? Are you enjoying all of balance your organizational policies allow for or unnecessarily carrying a burden of self-imposed obligations on your furlough time?

Maximizing PD efforts during Furlough

I believe maximizing one’s PD effort starts with an intentional attitude of gratitude and dependence–then you can be intentional about honoring God, others and yourself. Create a plan, and then take the time to create the right media and materials to tell your story while saying “thank you” in an authentic and humble way. 

Yes, reporting and relating to those who sustain you in ministry is important, but use the tools God has provided. I hope the days of running ourselves and our families ragged in order to go everywhere and see everyone is a thing of the past. Video conferencing, creating and posting personal videos and then texting or emailing where they are posted (You Tube, Vimeo, personal blog/website) are effective God-given stewardship tools. Prioritize personal presentations and intimate times with key church and family partners. It reduces stress and keeps the Three Rs in balance. 

Rest, relationships, and relating to partners go hand in hand. After (or during) those visits, videos, and times of relating God’s blessings, relish the privilege it is to serve. Rest in the foundation of love He has built in your life and the relationships He uses to care for and support you.


Latest SRS Blog Post

Support Raising Solutions
PO BOX 3556
Fayetteville, AR, 72702
1(800) 595-4881