Our family recently returned from a wonderful 10-day vacation in North Carolina and Tennessee. This vacation was made possible through the generosity of our church family, a North Carolina businessman who made his cabin available to us for a week at almost no cost, and an evangelist who allowed us to stay in a cabin for four days absolutely free. We are very appreciative of those who desire to be a blessing to pastors and their families.
We spent 7 days in Maggie Valley, NC, where we traveled and hiked through the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway. Then, we spent four days near Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, TN. Everything was wonderful and we had a blast. We even got to see a momma black bear and three of her cubs in the woods near Gatlinburg.
Pastors, take a vacation! Forget about the workaholics who brag on not taking a day off in 30 years. You only have so much time to spend with your children. You all need a break. “Come apart” or come apart! Your wife needs a break. Your children need a break. A pastor staying in a cabin nearby told me, “I recently had a mini-stroke and I had to take time off and rest.” This man is in his early 40′s and looked very healthy! He admitted that he had burned the candle at both ends and not taken the rest he needed.
Your church needs for you to take a break also. Time away will improve your spirit and your preaching. Visiting churches out of town (as you should) will give you new ideas, and perhaps a new appreciation for your church. Don’t fall for the lie that you are indispensable to the work. Bring in some guest preachers or let some men in your church preach for you. If your church cannot handle the work of God for a week or ten days while you are away, something is wrong. In the long run, good annual vacations will not only bless and preserve your family, they will bless, strengthen, and lengthen your ministry.
Since I am already giving unasked for advice, let me say that the pastor should not feel guilty to take a two Sunday vacation from his church to be with his family. I know that some will cry Anathema but nevertheless I believe it is healthy to do so. You know that you are not resting and neither is anyone else if you still have to get ready for Sunday. The only reasons you won’t take two Sundays away is because you are either afraid of what some people may think or you believe the church cannot survive two Sundays without you. Well, the first reason will send you to an early grave worrying and the second reason is just pride speaking. We were gone ten days and two Sundays and – behold! – Lighthouse Baptist Church was still standing when we returned. So, if you can get away for that long once a year – and work like an ox the rest of the year – do it. Amen.