It almost seems ridiculous to mention that a Pastor needs to take time off, but my personal experience tells me otherwise. I was leading a small congregation of 30 – 35 people with a limited budget. With God’s help, I was doing the best I could with what I had. I would preach numerous weeks in a row; feeling the pressure to keep the church’s cost down. The grind of five years of bi-vocational ministry had taken its toll; the adrenaline that I used to feel from certain events was used up. I could not dig any deeper, because honestly I had reached the bottom of the barrel. I ended up taking some time off due to getting sick and in turn infected.
I knew what had caused it. . . a demanding schedule with a desire to make a difference. There is a common occurrence in pastors throughout the US and the world. I think one thing that would have made a huge difference would be to take more time off.
I have made a few recent post in an effort to encourage pastors:
I wanted to conclude this by encouraging pastors to take some time off. If you are reading this as a pastor and have not taken a break in the last 12 months of at least a week (missing at least one Sunday); then why not schedule a break within the next 3 months. If you are reading this as a member of a congregation, encourage your pastor to take a break. Why not give a vacation to him / her for their anniversary, birthday or Pastor’s Appreciation. If the church cannot send the pastor on a trip, give him / her some spending money. This would be a blessing more than you can imagine. They are unlikely to request the break, but they could use it.
I was able to take a couple of days off (I should have taken more) at a home in North Carolina outside of Edenton. It was quiet and peaceful and overlooked the Chowan River (more than a mile wide). This home is provided by the Barnabas21 Ministry, see wallacephillips.com for more info. If you can, take more than a few days, unwind and relax in historic Edenton.
Recently, Christianity Today put together a list of places with free or discounted vacations for pastors. Here is a list put together by Ed Stetzer of Free or Discounted Getaways for Pastors. I encourage you to check this out as well. At the end of the article there is a list of different locations in each state.