As a pastor, I have a hard time taking a Sunday off. Not because I don’t want a break. Not because I don’t need a break. Not because I don’t think my family needs the break. It’s hard, because I don’t want to be away from my people. Regardless of the horror stories some clergy tells about parishioners, most of us really do love the people in our churches. I do. I love the people I serve and enjoy being with them each Sunday. And mostly, they are fond of me too. We’re a good match together.
Even so, they need my vacation.
They don’t need the actual vacation I took. It wasn’t glamorous. It wasn’t life altering. It wasn’t a once in a lifetime opportunity. It was a small, inexpensive, family oriented weekend away.
And my flock needed it.
My flock needed my vacation because they need a pastor who took time to rest and play.
My flock needed my vacation because they need a pastor who isn’t burnt out and overworked.
My flock needed my vacation because they need a pastor who takes and models Sabbath rest.
My flock needed my vacation because they need a pastor who prioritizes family over ministry.
My flock needed my vacation because they need to hear great guest preachers.
My flock needed my vacation because they need to have good retired pastors speak things that aren’t heard when non-retired pastors say them.
My flock needed my vacation because they need a break from me just as much as I need a break from them.
My flock needed my vacation because it’s a healthy and a good and a right thing.
So no more will I fret over being away. No more will I feel bad for taking time off. Clergy friends, I urge you to stop doing it too. No more. We need to stop thinking that somehow if we take time off to play (and that doesn’t mean a conference or learning opportunity), that the church will fall apart without us. They were okay before we got in God’s pulpit and they’ll be okay after. And if we are doing our work well, they’ll be ready to hear a Good Word from colleagues who are also capable of bringing God’s message to them. We plan, we prepare, and we leave them in good hands. In God’s hands.
And we enjoy our time away, resting, playing and hearing a fresh word from God.
Yes, we need a vacation, but our flock needs our vacation too.
One thought on “My Flock Needs My Vacation”
Many of us preachers never learn this, but you have and you and your church and your family will call you blessed. Thanks for letting me help out.