Ministers often have a hard time relaxing and truly enjoying vacation time away due to the constant concern for members and the regularity of sermon and Bible class preparations.
There is an answer, however, within our grasp! How about 52 ‘free’ vacation days per year, for a start!?
For those who are able to take an off-day during the week (both husband and wife), here are some keys which have worked for me. In fact, after arriving home on Thursday, my day out of the office is Friday.
1. Make certain the elders and office staff know you are taking time out of the office on the particular day you choose….but are available for emergencies.
2. Ask your wife to shield you from telephone calls. Be willing to have her tell callers that you will “return calls’ when you are available.
3. Do what you want when you want. Develop the ‘I’m on vacation’ mentality. This is the key!! Don’t let standing in line or slow drivers bother you when you are away from the house. Change clothes, shower, work on odd-jobs, etc., when you want to…do NOT rush or be on a schedule.
4. Take your wife out to eat for lunch and be in no hurry. Don’t let money be the issue – find the many restaurants where you can take your time and relax while you eat and ‘split a meal’ so that money can be available. You will find many places that serve enough food to feed two for $15, counting the tip.
5. Make certain that you and your wife have some ‘special time’ during the day. This can also include the enjoyment of hobbies that you might share; visit tourist stops if you live in a place that offers some pleasant events/places to visit.
6. When ‘on vacation’ for the day, television, listening to music, bike rides, walking, working on crossword puzzles, spending 30 minutes at a local driving range (if you play golf), reading, etc., are all strong possibilities. Find movies you both enjoy and make certain you have popcorn, etc., to make it even more special.
7. The important thing? Make sure that you are ‘away’ from the stress and constancy of work and sermon/class preparations.
Enjoy quiet time. Enjoy your wife. Enjoy your home. Enjoy the city where you live. Don’t spend much money—but make the most of what is available.
Your ministry and the congregation will benefit greatly if you will learn to make that ‘off day’ during the week the very best it can be.
And how about getting 52 vacation days in addition to normal time allowed? Try it a few weeks and see if it doesn’t make a big difference.