I just got back from 10 days in Seattle with my wife. There was no speaking thing, there was no winter retreat I attended, I didn’t answer emails one time, it was just a trip to get away to refresh in a city I never have visited with my wife who is awesome. There is something about getting away that is so life giving and I am amazed how many people don’t take a break.
I am in a different number of Facebook groups with a whole bunch of different pastors (which if you have not joined the DYM Facebook group, you need to by clicking HERE) and when asked what people do over the holidays some (not all, but some) were shaming, or what seemed like shaming, others for taking a few weeks off during the break. We take 2 weeks off for Christmas and New Year’s (you can read about why HERE) but this post is more directed towards leaders and taking breaks and getting away.
Here are a few reasons why getting away is a MUST for ministry leaders:
It’s healthy – If you are anything like me, you love your job and you will do whatever it takes to make sure the ministry is running smoothly and students are growing to know Jesus. The thing with our work is that it is never finished and nor will we ever see a finished work. One of the best things for your ministry is for the ministry leader to get away and refresh for a bit. You are in this for the long haul, you want to last, so you need to be healthy. The few weeks leading up to this time away I thought more than once, “Man, working at Taco Bell sounds pretty good right now. I’ll make crunch wrap supreme all day no problem.” Have you ever been there before? I’m sure you have. Unplugging for a week straight allowed me to refocus, gain energy and I’m coming back hot and ready to take on the year! Not only is it healthy for you, it’s healthy for your family. If you are feeling burnt, you better believe your family feels it more. It’s of utter importance to make sure your family is healthy and get away. It’s a must.
It gives you new perspective – You know when you are sitting staring at something for a while and it just ends up being a big blur and you can’t really find what you are looking for? That is what not taking a break does. Your vision becomes cloudy. One of the most important things a leader needs to have and communicate is clear vision and there is no way that will happen when you have had your head so buried in your work. When you step away for a bit and have some fun, it doesn’t mean you stop thinking about the ministry. I didn’t when I was away. On the plane ride I just got to think and write stuff down, my wife and went to coffee shops every morning and did some reading and I did some dreaming. The things that have come from stepping back a bit and viewing the ministry from a 30,000 foot level will bring new life in the ministry for the next year. Things came to my head (I believe the Holy Spirit guided me to it) of things of my leadership and things we have been missing to help make our time together better.
Gives your ministry a breather/gives your leaders ownership – I’m blessed to work at a place in which gifted our entire staff off the week between Christmas and New Year’s. because of that we cancel all our next-gen ministries. It is a good break for my team, my leaders and students and it really does make all of them miss it and be excited we are coming back. I realize that not everyone has that luxury but it shouldn’t stop you from still getting away. If you “can’t” step away because you feel it will fall apart when your not there you have bigger leadership issues to worry about. You getting away will allow your leaders to step up and take ownership and run the show and you will be surprised how awesome they will do. Will be exactly how you like it? Probably not. But they won’t burn the place down and they will be more bought in than ever before because they took over while you got healthy.
There are plenty of excuses to not go away. I’m telling you right now that if my wife and I didn’t actively plan on getting away to step back and refresh, this year would have been a whole lot harder. Any healthy leader NEEDS to make this a priority in their leadership and actively be the example of creating margin for the people they lead.
See all of Justin’s resources on DYM HERE