Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Pastoral Staycations

When I was in seminary at Central Baptist Theological Seminary offered some advice about self-care and the practice of taking vacation and leave time. O John Eldred gave the following advice from his experience in the ministry and in teaching ministry:

1.  Try and be as unavailable as possible when you are on leave, otherwise you will never really get away from the ministry.
2.  Try and get out of town, one way or another, when you are off at church, or you will never really be off.
3. Do not return for funerals or other emergencies from vacation, no matter what
4. Make sure nobody has your phone number while you are on vacation or leave, or people will call you with concerns
5. Try and take more than one week at a time off, because it takes more than a week to extract yourself from ministry concerns.

I have to say, I believe wholehearedly in Eldred's ministry advice, and I have followed almost none of it. This year, after battling cancer and having Jennifer switch a job, we have had no money or ability to get away as a family for an out of town vacation. So, we are stuck with me having to take time off, mainly to spend time with kids while their daycare provider is taking the holidays off. I have been practicing the pastoral staycation.

As I have shared on earlier posts, this does not work very well. People drop by for keys. The supply preachers want to talk through their messages (they are all lay persons). We have to find ways to escape the house early on Sunday so we are not visibly home while the congregation is at worship. I think we are going to have to go into debt if we have to and get gone for our next season of respite.

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