Summer is coming soon, which means right now is a great time to start planning for a break. Since nobody is going to show up at your door with a silver tray of margin, here are a few tips to help you turn those daydreams into dream vacations.
Ask your family what they want to do.
I would suggest more of a casual family dinner conversation than a formal family meeting because your family may not understand what your time and budget limits are. Also, asking your children to “vote” sets the family up to have winners and losers.
This constructive conversation will hopefully expose their dislikes, which can save everyone heartaches and headaches. You don’t want someone’s fear of heights or wax museums to become a memory that leads to medication.
Ask yourself what you need.
Pastors and leaders often do not realize how exhausted they are until they get off of the field. Preventing burnout is smarter and cheaper than curing it.
Since spring is a ministry sprint season for me, and the end of a semester of teaching college for Janet, we always plan a week of vacation in May or early June.
Ask your spouse what you can afford.
Lifeway Pastors maintains a Retreat and Getaway page to help pastors and missionaries get some much needed and deserved R&R. Basically, this is discounted lodging for pastors and missionaries. Lifeway’s Ridgecrest Conference Center also offers pastoral discounts. Contact each retreat center directly for specific information. Lifeway Pastors does not book vacations.
Avoid stress by planning ahead.
Scheduling is where a lot of pastors get jammed up. Spontaneous trips are better than none at all, but they are usually only fun for that free-spirited one or two in the bunch. Procrastination has a steep price tag, so make time today for tomorrow’s break. Quit dragging your tired feet and find a place you can rejuvenate them.
Go where your sheep don’t go.
Stay-cations can be fun, productive, and even necessary…unless you are a pastor. If you are taking more than a couple of days off, you will recharge much faster off the field. Also, your family should not have to share you 365 days out of the year.
Trust God to take care of His bride while you are off taking care of your own bride and kids.
Unused vacation hours and travel rewards may impress some people, but it won’t impress anyone who shares your last name. Get off the ministry roller coaster because its only destination is the land of regrets. Your family needs your undivided attention, and you need quality time with them to recharge your soul.
Everyone wins when you stop dreaming of a vacation and start planning one. I would love to hear about your favorite family vacation.