“I hate vacations. If they are not interrupted, I always come back to more problems and more work.”
Those are the actual words of a pastor. He did not make the comments with malice as much as with sobriety.
Summer is often a traditional time when we think of vacations, so I’m taking the opportunity to encourage local congregations to help make their pastors and their families have a great vacation. Your pastor needs the rest and fun. It will also be good for the church.
So what can you do to make this vacation a positive time for your pastor? Allow me to offer eight suggestions.
- Pray that your pastor will really rest while on vacation. Too many vacations are often more stressful than restful.
- Pray for your pastor’s family on vacation. They too need rest and uninterrupted time.
- Have someone responsible for the leadership of the church during the pastor’s vacation. The congregation should know that the pastor is on vacation and that time is being protected. The members should be aware of who the primary contact is in the pastor’s absence.
- Don’t call your pastor on vacation if at all possible. This issue may be the toughest one for the members. After all, any church family can have an emergency need; thus there is the likelihood that some type of urgent request will be made. Hopefully, the emergency can be handled by someone other than the pastor.
- Don’t connive while your pastor is on vacation. Many pastors have shared with me terrible stories about malicious work and planning by members that took place during the vacation. Thus the pastor returned home to malcontents and crises. One pastor told me he refuses to take a vacation for that very reason.
- Let your pastor have the Sundays off around the vacation time. Sermon preparation is incredibly time consuming. A pastor can’t have a true vacation if there is still the need to devote time to sermon preparation.
- Provide vacation gifts. Many pastors don’t have the money to take a decent vacation. Sometimes it may be appropriate and gracious to provide the pastor’s family with a something that will allow them to take the vacation. When I was a pastor, I was blessed that a family gave me their beach condo for a week.
- Make certain that work is accomplished while the pastor is away. “I don’t want to take a vacation, because the work piles up while I’m gone,” a pastor recently shared with me. Church members can find creative ways to make sure ministry and work is done in the pastor’s absence.
It is not good for a pastor to forego vacations. It is not good for the pastor, for the pastor’s family, or for the congregation. Do everything you can to assure that your pastor not only takes a vacation, but that your pastor takes a vacation that it is stress-free and fun.
Let me know what you think about these eight suggestions.