July 11, 2013

Love the Church but Need a Break?

Once upon a time a pastor's family decided that they would stay at home for vacation. As it happened, this was the same time as the church was having Vacation Bible School. Lots of church members saw their pastor on the street and they exchanged cheery hellos. But to their surprise, the pastor didn't ask even one time about VBS. Likewise the pastor's spouse was seen at the pool and out shopping. And like the pastor, the spouse was always friendly. But she didn't ask about VBS either and she clearly was not helping. Even the pastor's kids weren't at VBS. After all, they were on vacation, which for the kids also meant that they didn't have to go to church. And of course, you will not be surprised to learn that when appointment time rolled around the next year, the church requested another pastor.

It's hard for pastors' families to stay in town for vacation time. Most pastors need quality time away from being on-call 24/7. They may love their jobs, but who doesn't need a break? Sadly, many church people don't understand. Although I'm sure they jealously guard their vacation time.

Sometimes, I'd really like to just stay at home and get some things done around the house. But I also know that my pastor-husband needs time away. It's hard enough as it is for pastors to take vacations, because often worship attendance and giving take a hit when the pastor isn't there preaching. Somehow congregations think that if the pastor isn't there, they have permission to skip. Because of this pattern, we typically don't advertise the fact they we are leaving town ahead of time. And while our kids were at home, vacation time was the only time when they could count on having quality, uninterrupted time with dad.

What about you? Do you find that you have to leave town when your family needs vacation time?

Grace, Kathy

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