Why You Need a Summer Break

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I’m my summer preaching break and as always, it has been incredibly helpful. If you are a pastor, this is something you need to put into your yearly rhythm.

If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you know that personal health and leadership health is incredibly important to me. It seems every month I hear about another pastor burning out or running out of steam because they didn’t take care of themselves. If you burnout, you have no one to blame but yourself.

Over the last 3 weeks, I have played longer with my kids, walked on the beach and picked up seashells, took long walks with Katie, took some naps, watched the world cup, worked ahead on sermons, read some great books and spent time with friends.

Who benefits from a summer break. Literally everyone. The pastor taking it does as he is able to recharge physically and spiritually. His family does as they get some much needed down time. What many people fail to realize is that ministry can become an all encompassing endeavor. The church benefits as well from having a pastor come back more passionate and energized than when he left and they benefit from hearing sermons from other voices. It is a win-win for everyone.

Most pastors want to take a summer break, but don’t know how. If that’s you, here are some ideas on how to make your summer break successful:

  • Plan ahead. We think resting should just happen, but it doesn’t. This is especially true for your summer break. If you are taking vacation, you need to plan ahead so you can disconnect from social media, email and your job. Work out the details so everything is covered and you are not needed.
  • Disconnect early and connect early. My recommendation during your break is that you disconnect from email, social media, blogging, etc. For me, I can find myself getting angry at posts or distracted and that keeps me from recharging or doing what I should be doing on my break. Put an auto responder on your email a few days before you actually leave so you can begin disconnecting and then turn it back on a few days before you come back so you can ease in.
  • Leave town. You don’t need to be gone for your whole preaching break, but the more the better. This helps you to truly disconnect and recharge. This doesn’t have to be expensive as you can drive and visit friends or family or stay somewhere cheap. This is why planning ahead is such a benefit.
  • Don’t feel guilty. It’s summer, so don’t feel bad. Everyone is taking vacation, time off and slowing down. People go to the beach, lake, mountains, the park. Once summer hits, our mindset changes and our schedules change. This is why it is the ideal time for a pastor to take several weeks in a row from regular church activities.
  • Be purposeful. This isn’t simply about time off. Take a sabbatical for that. This is to recharge and have time off, but also to work ahead, evaluate the ministry and do things you need to do but often neglect because of the time ministry takes. By planning ahead purposefully, you make sure you accomplish what you need to. This summer I spent a lot of time talking to pastors of churches who have broken the 500 mark trying to discern what I need to know as we approach that in our next season of ministry, the kinds of leaders we need on board to break through that barrier.

In the end, a preaching break is really about the longevity of ministry for a pastor and his church. This keeps it fresh and moving in the direction God wants him to. Don’t minimize how important this is. The ones who do, end up burning out or losing passion very quickly.

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Top Posts of July ’09

In case you missed them, here are the top posts for July 2009.

  1. Marriage, Cheating, Football & Steve McNair
  2. Links of the Week (7/24)
  3. The Role of Men in the Family
  4. Pictures from Revolution’s Baptism
  5. Recent Family Pic
  6. Goals & the Future of Revolution Church
  7. Saturday Night Mind Dump… (Vacation Edition)
  8. Jack Welch’s 6 Rules of Leadership
  9. Missional vs. Missional
  10. Summer Break

Saturday Night Mind Dump… (Vacation Edition)

  • Here’s my mind dump, vacation style
  • We left Friday for San Diego and so far, the weather has been amazing
  • It is supposed to be a high of 78 while we’re here
  • It’s true what they say, “You don’t know how badly you need a vacation until you are on it”
  • We needed it
  • Here’s a picture of why I love vacation
  • Go here to see pictures from our adventures today
  • Katie has me hooked on french press coffee now, it is addicting
  • Heard tonight was a great night at Revolution
  • Don’t know about anyone else, but how awesome is it to have Paul on our team?
  • I’m continually blown away by the level of creativity that comes out of our creative team
  • If you missed tonight, you can listen to the message here
  • Got a lot of great feedback about the TV evangelist video we made, I’ll post it when I can
  • Heard it was a great kick off to our brand new series
  • You don’t want to miss next week, it is going to be even cooler
  • Dave Ramsey will be talking about debt, something a lot of people have
  • Gonna get together a few times this week with Jim Johnson, he’s been a guy who has been challenging my thinking the last few times we’ve hung out
  • Tomorrow we’re going to church at Kaleo, love going to church on vacation with Katie
  • I don’t have to do anything but sit down and listen, really refreshing for someone who speaks a lot
  • Speaking of that, I am loving having this month off from preaching
  • I am really excited about preaching our next series in August
  • The lead pastor at Kaleo, David Fairchild is a guy worth reading and listening to
  • His ideas on tri-persepctival leadership are really shaping how we do and think about leadership at Revolution
  • If you missed our 4th of July BBQ/Baptism, you can see pictures here
  • While on vacation, I’m reading two really good books: The rest of God and Leadership Gold, I’ll blog some thoughts when I’m done
  • Saw this billboard today, definitely a reminder why we’re preaching on marriage and divorce this fall
  • Love our schedule for the week (wake up, exercise, lunch, nap, go somewhere cool, dinner, bed, do it all over again)
  • That’s a vacation
  • Now I’m getting back to it
  • Good night from 66 degree San Diego

Links of the Week