I didn’t take a vacation for three years after coming to restart Valley Baptist Church. I have no regrets for this. I think there are seasons when sacrifice is required, but in year three I traveled a great deal. I missed two Sundays traveling to Mongolia to visit missionaries in May, two weeks vacation in Lake Tahoe in July, and then two weeks visiting Israel for personal enrichment in September. I almost never miss Sundays at Valley Baptist Church because I feel it is important for me to be there as the leader of the church, but in 2010 I missed 6 weeks and it helped the church regardless of my concerns!
Today, as you read this, I am in Spain preparing to come home after a two week vacation in Spain and detour trip to Italy to meet with a missionary from the church.
Here are some benefits to getting away:
1. It allows the leaders to step up and run things while you are gone. In the early years the planter does just about everything and it is hard to step back and delegate. Leaving creates a real need that must be filled, or in other words it forces you to delegate things you do. In this process, you will discover things you should not do as the leader. After three years I had a solid team in place that could run things seamlessly without me. I am not the linchpin at the church, going away proved it. I believe my leaving allowed the church to mature even more. I have found great liberation in learning that I am just a part of the body…not many parts of the body that keep it alive.
2. It refreshes your soul. There is something about disengaging from the daily grind that helps re-energize my passion for the ministry and zeal for preaching that is zapped through 52 weeks of preaching and ministering to the flock. Getting away and restoring your soul does wonders for your ability to preach and teach with passion. I believe getting away will help me stay in this battle for years to come. I don’t want to become a statistic of the many pastors who burn out or crash and burn along the journey.
3. Enjoying the family exclusively comes in these getaways. I want to enjoy my family daily and to make memories that will stick with my kids for their lifetime. Vacations are wonder ways to shut off the world and to focus on your own family exclusively for a few weeks. I also love traveling overseas and meeting with missionaries. I long to expose my two girls (ages 5 and 2) to the work that God is doing around the world. So many Christians have such a narrow view of how God is working (i.e. Republican United States…) Man, at the time of writing, I have two week till we fly out for vacation. I can’t wait.
I can’t encourage you enough. You must take time off for a vacation on a regular basis it will do wonders for you and the body you minister to! Sorry if this is short, brief, or broken in thought…I have that “last day of school feeling” as I prepare for vacation!