- One break is the planned variety. This includes things such as vacations, conferences, family activities, or personal activities.
- Another break is the urgently needed but unplanned variety. These are the activities that are urgent, needed and necessary to long term survival in ministry.
Jesus set the precedent for ministry breaks. “And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there.” (Matt. 14:23) Notice Jesus took a break.
- It came after a busy time of ministry.
- It was intentional. He planned to go aside for refreshment.
- It was a time to be alone.
Jesus’ example could be used as a precedent to cover both varieties of ministerial breaks. It is hard to imagine Jesus taking vacations. However, regardless of how we label them, Jesus took breaks from ministry.
So what can we learn from this discussion. Jesus recognized the importance of refreshing the human spirit. Sometimes ministers are reluctant to take ministry breaks. Not good! Our reluctance to take ministry breaks might be due to a number of factors.
- We are guilty of the Messiah complex. We convince ourselves that the church may not survive without us.
- We are guilty of paranoia. We are afraid the church might replace us if we leave.
- We are guilty of big egos. We convince ourselves that no one can fill our shoes.
- We are guilty of mistrust. We convince ourselves that our people cannot handle things while we are away.
What are the positives in taking a ministry break?
First, when we take a ministry break we come back refreshed. Your preaching will be better and you will see the whole world in a new light.
Second, when we take a ministry break we give our people a break. This concept might insult you, but it is not intended to do so. When people hear you teach and preach week in and week out they get in a rut listening to you, just like you get in a rut preparing to preach/teach. The temporary separation gives you and them a refreshing break.
Third, when we take a ministry break we follow Jesus’ example. If Jesus took a break, who are we to disregard His example.
Fourth, when we take a ministry break we prepare for the future. A career in ministry is intended to be a marathon, not a sprint. A sprint is over quickly, but a marathon last much longer.
The Lord designed you for a life of ministry. My prayer is that you will not wear out, burn-out, or implode before your race is finished.