You show up for church and find that there is a guest preacher. Is that pastor on vacation again?
I have heard such statements, about myself and about other pastors. People in the church seem surprised when the pastor is on vacation. Why are pastors away so much?
Actually pastors are not taking more vacation time. When I was a child, our minister always took the entire month of July or August off. Often he (it was always a he then), would switch with another local minister who would take the other month.
I have never taken an entire month off at a time. The most I have taken is two weeks, spreading out the rest of my vacation at other times of the year. Perhaps this is why it seems to some that pastors are off more.
But why do pastors even need a vacation? Well pastors do work the entire week, not just Sundays. While not physically strenuous, ministry is often very emotionally draining.
When you are wondering why your pastor is on vacation again, consider these thoughts.
- Other careers have vacation time and pastors deserve it as much as anyone.
- Ministry puts a strain on the pastor’s family and regular time away is essential for the health of the family.
- Other careers get to leave their work at the office, while pastors are emotionally invested in their congregation at all times.
- Even when a pastor goes on vacation, they are aware of the needs back home. They cannot just forget that person they are caring for is dying of cancer.
- When a pastor is on holidays, some people in the congregation decide that they still have pastoral access. Don’t do this.
- Time away is not because the pastor hates the ministry. Time away means that the pastor can be recharged and renewed so that they may be more effective in ministry.
These are some things for you to keep in mind. When you hear your pastor is on vacation again, give thanks to God that they are getting their rest.