With that said, it’s imperative that we keep ministry as a blessing and not allow it to become a curse. Any ministry, no matter how exciting it is can get old without good breaks and getaways… A GREAT vacation that recharges and rejuvenates, is essential for anyone who wants to ensure that ministry does not get old. More than that, it is crucial that we get a good break that gives us a new perspective when we return.
Here are few things I do on vacation that help me to get recharged and invest in my family.
1) Leave Your Laptop / iPad at Home: No email, no planning, no temptation to do work. After all, it’s a vacation!
2) Turn Off Your Phone and Leave Away Messages: Leave good away messages that communicate that you will not be checking voicemail or checking email. However, be diligent to ensure that students, parents, and church leaders have a point person to go to in your absence. It is pertinent that you do not check your voicemail or email while you are gone. If your ministry cannot depend on you, there must be something broken… It will fix itself if you learn to let go and communicate healthy boundaries to others.
3) Take a Few Good Books: Have a focused time to read and relax. No ministry books allowed, just books that will fill you up and help you relax. God’s Word is obviously on the top of the list. Plan ahead with passages or books you would like to read to fill you up…
4) Schedule What Your Family Needs: If you are in ministry and are married, your family has often taken back seat to ministry, emergencies, and those all-nighters. It’s essential that your family gets to enjoy you and make memories together. Yes, make sure you have some alone time, but also make sure your spouse (and kids if you have kids), feel special and valued.
5) Take At Least A Week, Preferably Ten Days: It often takes a few days to unwind from the ministry schedule, so ensure that you get to enjoy your vacation by having at least a week relaxing and unwinding.
6) Get Away: A “Stay-cation” is not a vacation… In ministry, you need to get away. There are too many triggers and temptations when we stay at home.
7) Treat Yourself: Do something a little a out of the ordinary. Whether it is having an extravagant meal, scuba diving, or whale watching, do something that is a memory maker for you and your family. It’s important to create memories and stories to look back on. I’ve never been scuba diving, but I have some great memories with my wife and kids…
8.) Rest! Yes, I know it should be a given, but I know too many of my good friends who have a hard time relaxing on vacation. They are still checking their voicemail and worrying about whether the ministry is going to plan without them. We are able to rest when we realize that God does not need us to do anything. He chooses to use us and will accomplish His purposes while we are on vacation. God does not need to depend on us… Just sayin…
9) Sleep-In! I have two kids who will wake me up early, even on vacation. However, my wife and myself have agreed to let each other sleep-in at least one day. You should try it!
10) Don’t Talk About Ministry: This is really hard for a lot of us since our world revolves around ministry. However, I think it’s important to give ourselves and our families a break from the ministry conversation. It’s not that ministry is a bad thing, but it’s important to realize that our family needs breaks from being in the trenches full-time.
What would you add to this list that has worked for you?