What is Vacation?

IMG_2016-01-23 11:53:49Have you ever wondered where and what a pastor does on vacation?  In short, pretty much the same thing that anyone else does on vacation: relaxing and rejuvenation.  So, the more appropriate question would probably be: “why does a pastor need vacation?”

I’ve pondered this question every day during my week away.  I truly have.  In my heart of hearts my own mind has questioned: “Should I be away right now?, Am I missing out on something?, Did I forget to do something?, Was this the most wise decision?”  Every day, pastor’s around the world (in my opinion), deal with guilt … and yes, even guilt for taking vacation.  And this my friends, is probably the number one reason pastor’s must have vacation, because of guilt.

First, what is guilt?  According to dictionary.com, it can be described this way: “a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether real or imagined.”

There are two important words within the definition: real or imagined.

See, this is the dichotomy pastor’s feel: “is my guilt for real or is this something I am imagining.,  Is it bad that I did something for myself?,  What are others thinking about me taking a vacation?,  Is there a way to rationalize that I really needed a vacation?”  So, realistically, even while on vacation, pastor’s are still not free from the mind: wheel’s still turn, questions still arise, guilt still heavily shadows.

So, the original question still remains, “why do pastor’s need vacation?”  In order to answer this question, let me answer the question on what vacation for a pastor is not:
-It is not a time when we forget about our community
-It is not a time where we forget about those that are not doing well
-It is not a time where we forget what needs to be done once we pull in the driveway
-It is not a time where we throw caution into the wind and forget our calling

Then the answer to, “why do pastor’s need vacation?,” is simple this:
-to take a step away to remember our calling
-to go somewhere a distance away to become realigned to the mission at hand
-to remember and celebrate the good times in ministry
-to thank God, to question God, to ponder God
-to become rejuvenated for the tasks that await us
-we are human beings, and we too need time to ourselves
-so we don’t become stagnant and inefficient
-so that we can be the spiritual guides, the light of Christ, and beacons of hope in the places we have been sent.

And one final thought, pastor’s need vacation, simply because if we are not spiritually fed and awakened, how can we expect our congregations and community to be the same under our leadership?

After a quick search, it seems guilt for pastor vacation is more rampant that I initially thought, I found two interesting articles that elaborate a bit more, enjoy!

Grace & Peace,

Pastor Juston