Vacation Relief

Every summer, Peter and his family borrow a parishioner's lakeside cottage. Two weeks without phones, church bulletins, sermons or counseling appointments. Relief becomes relaxation then renewal as they recover from perennial ministry overload.

Why do pastors need vacation? A high burnout rate is reason enough. Vacations restore perspective, rejuvenate passion and revitalize personal relationships. That adds up to powerful ministry potential on the return home.

Restore perspective.
In the vise of ministry demands, sometimes we forget that God is God — and we are not. Schedules and needs assume Goliath proportions, as do ministers' burdens to meet those needs. Vacations separate pastors from work, letting them rest while God works, reminding us that everything we do is God's work. He is capable of continuing His church in our absence.

Vacations restore perspective, rejuvenate passion and revitalize personal relationships.

Rejuvenate passion.
Distance from work creates space to remember our calling: Love the Lord with all our heart, mind, soul and strength. Awakening to rippling water, a bird's call, a spouse's or a child's touch heals wounds we didn't know existed. That healing helps us return to our first love, the God who saved us then called us. Vacations provide time for Christ's love to wash over the sandy shores of our soul, seeping between the grains and refilling us. Then we can love others once again.

Revitalize personal relationships.
Vacations mean focused attention on our families, a primary way they receive our love. Building memories, laughing together and reconnecting with our families create a foundation to build upon the rest of the year. My whole family recalls the "short" canoe trip that took 12 hours, the campfires by the river, the bats in the cabin. We remembered we loved each other and carried that love back into ministry.

After all, isn't that the fuel for ministry? Love. So, please, get away and get back your perspective, passion and personal relationships. Then return, ready to love again.

Taken from Focus on the Family magazine, July, 2008.
Article copyright © 2008, Jane Rubietta.
All rights reserved. International copyright secured.
Used by permission