Do you remember when McDonald’s used
the “You deserve a break today!” slogan? You would think most
people would relate to that, but apparently that’s not the case. A
new survey by Harris Interactive shows that
most working Americans had unused vacation time at the end of 2011
(the average being 11 days worth of time unused).
My question for you is, do you get any
vacation time and if so, do you use it? I know for some of you, it
goes against what you think. You feel as if your kids depend on
you; and they do-but you must first take care of yourself.
I looked into what some of our experts had to
say about the subject and pulled out some interesting thoughts.
Here are three takes on why you need to use your time off.
1. Don’t be afraid, it can
help. In the current issue of
Children’s Ministry Magazine, Bernadette O’Shea writes an article about how we can easily
fall victim to burnout. Bernadette, a Christian- and private-
school educator as well as a public speaker for more than 15 years,
says she has been there. One of the indicators that you’re on a
path to flaming out, she says, is that you’re afraid to take a
She explains that some people have too much
pride to take a day off from work. “People who are immature in a
position can worry if their subordinates are a potential risk for
them to lose their job. They fear that if they leave, someone will
Sometimes people are afraid to take time off
because they honestly believe their ministry would fall apart
without them there. “Remember that if you put people in positions
who are qualified enough to do the job, you don’t need to come to
their rescue,” said Bernadette. “Your absence could actually help
your team grow.”
Just like driving a car, in order to get
better, you have to have experience. Your team will never get a
chance to help lead if you don’t allow them to take your ministry
on a drive from time to time. Give them instructions, and let them
use their God-given talents while you recharge your batteries. It
will make you a better leader and give your team experience they
can use later.
2. It’s recommended by
psychiatrists. An article
by Judi Bailey, a licensed professional counselor, asks us to
reinterpret our concept of rest. Talking with psychiatrist Dr.
Victoria Codispoti, we find that rest is a biological need.”A great
number of people think they’re wasting time when they rest…people
don’t realize that their bodies need some period of rest every
day,” Dr. Codispoti says.
Judi also brings up a biblical point. “Study
the Scriptures to get God’s perspective on rest. Proverbs and
Psalms are especially ripe with the lessons of letting go and
trusting God. In Mark 6:31, Jesus told his disciples to go to a
‘lonely place and rest a while (RSV).’ “
Even if it’s not a full-fledged vacation,
setting aside some time for rest is beneficial to you and your
ministry in the end.
3. You want to be your best.
If you were at KidMin 2012, you know the ball of energy that is Kevin
Carroll. During a recent interview, we talked about being
honest with yourself and knowing what you need. “You have to be
honest about where you’re at because you do no one any good if you
don’t bring your best self on a daily basis,” said Kevin. “… I
think first and foremost, you need to be paying attention to your
energy and be aware of when you’re starting to flatline.”
Like Bernadette, Kevin says to make sure to
surround yourself with a qualified team of workers and volunteers,
and then equip them to lead at times when you need to recharge your
batteries. Find things you love to do and ways of worship
that you connect with best, and soon you will be back to 100
percent and better able to lead your ministry.
When I was working at my previous church, I
had an amazing team that filled in the gaps any time I couldn’t
make it or needed to take a vacation. There are times you might
only need to ask someone to take the helm for a day while you go
and worship; other times, it might take a full week off to get you
back in tip-top shape. Whatever it is, trust your team and use
those vacation days.
How do you handle vacation time? When is the
last time you used it? Does your team have a plan if you are away?
Let us know in the comment section below!