Pastors, Take A Vacation!!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015 7:50:00 AM Categories: Leadership
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Confession: I take 4-5 weeks of vacation every year. I know for some of you that may feed the stereotype that pastors only work one day a week! However, those closest to my ministry and the ministry of others knows better. On the contrary, most pastors tend to be workaholics not lazy.

My typical work-week usually consists of approximately:

* 25 hrs of message prep

* 12 hrs of administration

* 16 hrs of meetings during the day

* 4 hrs of mtgs at night.

* 7 hrs at our four weekend worship services.

* Total: 64 hrs /week.

Trust me. These are conservative numbers. They also don’t include my other speaking engagements at conferences, weddings, and funerals, or even hospital visits!

Add all of that together, and I may average 70 hrs/ week or more. Now I know for many of us, working this much is not even outside the norm! I don’t even begrudge working this much. I love what I do. I’m called to be a vocational minister. It is my great passion in life. I feel called to give my life to it!

Believe it or not, however, I just feel like none of what I’ve listed above, is what makes me most useful for Christ and His church. There are actually THREE things that are more important than anything else in my ministry:

* A white hot, passionate, relationship with God.

* A healthy, loving relationship with my spouse and my kids.

* A healthy me!

The best thing I bring to my ministry is a healthy me: emotionally, spiritually, relationally, and physically; a healthy heart filled with healthy relationships! If I lose that, it will terribly affect my ministry!

So yes, I work hard… for a season. Then, however, I retreat to spend unhurried time alone with God; and my family. I get out of the routine. I change the scenery. I rekindle my passion for God. I read a lot. I pray a lot. I reconnect with my wife and my kids. I remind them that they are my most important ministry. We laugh. We make memories. We do nothing. We do everything. It varies. But my vacation is all about staying healthy in my relationships.

Then I re-engage the ministry God has for me, refreshed, renewed, and ready to take more ground for the Kingdom of God, in and though His power!

Pastors, trust me: you probably work hard enough. You probably don’t rest enough; retreat enough; pray enough; play enough; or laugh enough! Pastors, chill out…and learn the spiritual value of rest and retreat. Jesus and His church needs a healthy you… so take a vacation!

This article was reposted with permission from

Shawn Lovejoy is the Founding and Lead Pastor of Mountain Lake Church, the Directional Leader of, and the author of ‘The Measure of Our Success: An Impassioned Plea to Pastors”, which released in April 2012. He lives near Atlanta, Georgia with his wife, Tricia and 3 children.