You may or may not have missed this blog too much. I missed connecting with you folks, but of course, but one of the reasons this was not updated was because I was away on vacation. And, in all honesty, I was glad to be away from this blog and the other burdens of pastoral ministry.
Please don’t get me wrong. My family and I are happy to be serving our little church and love them all. But just as everyone needs to get away for a little bit to rest and recharge, so does the pastor. And while we as pastors never “turn off” (we’re always thinking about the church and its needs), the change of venue and schedule can be just what we need in order to be even more effective as a minister of the Gospel. Let me give you a few reasons why it is so important for the pastor to “get away”.
Frankly, all people need rest. And pastors are no different. The burdens of ministry weigh down on pastors in some ways, like no other job. As administrators, public speakers, public relations specialists, researches, counselors, and various other hats, we have lawyers educations, work doctors hours, and generally do not receive similar benefits. The minimum we can do is take some time away to rest and detach from ministry for our own sake and for the sake of our families who put up with a lot less attention because we are devoting our attention elsewhere. Sitting in our little cottage in the Finger Lakes, we could do as we please: go swimming, go to the park, go to the zoo, or simply stay in and read and relax. What a blessing it is to do so!
It is true that pastors never truly “turn off.” We don’t have a profession like others who don’t have to think about it when they aren’t doing it. If you work in a factory, I doubt you worry about your machine working properly while you are away. Yet, pastors do not have true replacements. We are always thinking about the life of our church and how we can grow and improve. Yet, it is in a different context. Without all the routine of regular church life, we can focus and think about the big picture and the situation we are all in and how to make improvements and adjustments. We might not have major epiphanies but we often can think differently about our ministry while away to the benefit of all.
The burden of Sunday’s can be exhausting. Planning and executing, preaching and reading. It’s hard sometimes as the pastor to actually enjoy the worship service. When we are away, we attend other churches and we are able to sit, and participate like other believers and be fed. All too often, despite all the reading pastors do, we don’t get fed enough because we’re always busy feeding others. Being away in another church allows us to be fed so we can be strengthened to be able to feed you further. Plus, there is the benefit that you will able to be fed by a different person than me. While consistency is good and having the same person preach each week is the best idea, it’s good for you to hear other people as well, especially people in our own flock. I am thankful for the men of our church and their excellent job in filling in for me. I think if the Lord ever took me from this Church (God forbid!) you would be in capable hands!
Lastly, what this allows us to do is to recognize just how blessed we are. Even though we get to hear other preachers and be with other Christians, we are always reminded how much we miss our own people when we are away. We were glad to get away on vacation, but we recognize where we want to be is with our church family. Thank you everyone for providing for us the time away to sit back and relax and rest and review. The greatest benefit of all, is that it, Lord willing, makes me a better husband, father, and shepherd of God’s flock!
We’re glad to be home!