Pastors, there are many benefits of taking a few days away from your ministry. In my younger years, I wondered if I could afford to be away. But the longer I am in the ministry, the more I know that my body, my family, and my church need me to take a few days away from the ministry. It is profitable for all parties.
When we first started out in ministry, our time away from the church was mainly spent with our families. It seemed like when we arrived at Jeana’s family home, six hours away, or at my parents’ home, 11 hours away, we were on a retreat. Our families played with and cared for our boys while we rested and slept. It was not about where we went, but being away was always profitable.
Since today’s blog is directed towards pastors and church leaders, let me share a few of the benefits I have found in taking time away:
Benefit #1: Diversion relaxes the mind
Regardless of where you may go to be away from your ministry — it is a diversion. This diversion relaxes the mind. Stepping away from the daily grind is very beneficial for the mind. Even though technology can keep us connected, and even if you enter into a time of some decision-making, you are still removed from your normal ministry routine.
Benefit #2: Learning refreshes the spirit
When I am away in a friendly, relaxing place I choose to learn. I am able to read books I’ve wanted to read, rather than books I must read. I am able to take some more time for running and exercise, which provides me opportunities to listen to pastors and teachers who mentor me through their podcast ministry. Earlier this week, I wrote a blog about, “Four Books I Read While Away For A Few Days.” I encourage you to read that post to see what I did and read during that time.
Now, when it is just Jeana and I away for a while, learning can occur much easier than if we take a week away with our children and grandchildren. That time away is much more engaging, but again, beneficial as a diversion. The season of your life definitely determines the benefits of being away.
Benefit #3: Changing pace rests the body
Time away from the ministry always should result in a change of pace. Your schedule should not remain the same; in fact, you need to insure it changes some. When we go away, decision-making is lessoned. Quite honestly, here is what will comprise a day while Jeana and I are away. These things you can count on:
*We always begin our day with God — while at home this is usually very early most days. When we are away, we sleep later.
*We exercise nearly every day while away — we both do this, using the time to learn, grow, and be mentored by someone through listening to a podcast of some kind.
*We will spend our days together — this may be at the beach, or shopping, or every now and then we take in a movie.
*We will eat — this is usually our biggest decision of the day in our time away. We will usually go to an early dinner and we greatly enjoy this time together.
*We will usually drive around, taking in the environment — this is refreshing to both of us, but especially for me.
When your daily pace is changed, your body is more likely to become rested. In the few days away we just had together, I came back rested.
In closing Pastor . . .
Take time away. There is nothing noble or spiritual about refusing to go away. Yes, through the years, I have had to force myself to do so. There have been times when I’ve left the office feeling fearful of what may happen while I would be away. There have also been occasions that while I was away my time was jeopardized by problems at the church. Just recently, my biggest issue was that I felt the “treadmill of life” that I had been on for several months was running so fast I was not sure I could get off of it.
So Pastor, there will always be reasons to not be away from the ministry. But let me be completely honest with you. There are three major reasons you need to be away:
*YOU need it
*YOUR family needs it
*YOUR church needs it
Therefore, take the time. Let God use it in your life.