Taking Time Off

Some of the questions I’ve been asking our pastors during our quarterly phone calls is about their stress level.  How stressed are you? Are you taking a day off ?  When is your next vacation? I believe getting away is important. Right now, Linda and I are preparing to visit our youngest son and his family in Edinburgh. They just had twin girls! We are excited about spending some extended time with them.

Taking time off requires some good old fashioned planning. Getting the time off. Working through a budget. Booking flights. Finishing up tasks before you leave (it’s amazing all you can accomplish a week before vacation). Making a schedule. Packing. And the list goes on. It reminded me why I wrote these words which first appeared in my blog in January 2016. 


Most of us are making plans for the coming season. Sermons. Upcoming events. Goals for our health and ministry. If you asked me what would be a priority in your planning, I’d say, “Schedule your time off and take it!” Why is taking time off so important?  Early in my ministry, someone shared these three important reasons and I’ve never forgotten them.

Time off revives your Spirit. A common greeting among Orthodox Jews, even today, is “Shabbat Shalom.” It puts two Hebrew words together, “peace” and “rest.” It literally means “may you become whole during your ceasing of work.” You can’t sustain peace and wholeness without time away from ministry.

Time off renews your mind. The old saying is true, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Translation:  if you aren’t taking time off you are going to be bored and boring! Creativity and passion don’t always come from trying harder, they can come from backing away and giving yourself a break.

Time off replenishes your body. When we don’t take care of our bodies, it affects everything else. Time to exercise as well as time to rest is essential. The psalmist put it this way: “It’s useless to rise early and go to bed late, and work your worried fingers to the bone. Don’t you know He enjoys giving rest to those He loves?” Psalm 127:2 (Msg)  Don’t you know He enjoys giving rest to those He loves?

Okay, let’s mark our calendars!


One more thing! Retooling and learning can be a form of “getting away” as well. It’s not too late to sign up for the Leadership Summit Simulcast on August 9 and 10 at the Conference Office. All pastors and church leaders are welcome! You can register here. Use code PV2018.  I’d love to see you there before we take off for vacation!

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