Although my goals will be different from yours, I thought it might make you think through your goals to see mine. The important thing is to realize we as husbands, fathers, and pastors need to be deliberate about what we hope to use our vacation time for as we are away from the grind of pastoral ministry. Here were a few of mine as we journeyed to Randall, MN to celebrate the 100th birthday party of my wife’s grandmother and visit with family. Some of these were accomplished better than others, so I will rate each of them on a scale of 1-10, 10 being well accomplished.
1) Enjoy and serve my wife and children – 7. It is easy to get away with a focus to serve ourselves. I find it takes an effort to actually serve our families while away. It takes effort not to be thinking about what is happening back at church and allow ourselves to enjoy our families. I can’t say I accomplished this perfectly and constantly, but I had many moments this past week that I really enjoyed my family and served them at important moments in our trip.
2) Rest my mind - 7 Even though we traveled a lot and were busy, I still felt like I received a break from the rigors of study and having to think through many difficult pastoral matters. Out of all that needs to be rested, for me it is usually my mind. Long car rides, enjoyable conversations with my wife, casual visiting with family, and playing with my kids seemed to accomplish this goal pretty well.
3) Release the burdens – 6. A pastor may leave the office for the day, but the burdens of the ministry are always there. They are there when he goes to bed and they are usually there first thing in the morning. My goal was for even a short time, to release those burdens while gone and gladly receive them upon my return. The “gladly receiving” part has been a bit more of a challenge today.
4) Revise the pastor’s family book – 4. My usual goal for vacation time is to read an American History book, which is my favorite leisurely reading. Unfortunately, my reading time had to be spent with a final revision of the pastor’s family book as I am to turn it into Zondervan later today. I missed my casual reading time I get very little of anyway and did not accomplish what I needed on the revision. Pray as I finish some of that work today.
Pastors should have goals and vacation is no different. Do not be rigid about them. Allow them to be a part of the natural flow of the time so your family does not feel like they are being conquered with your goals. Yet, be deliberate so this valuable time is well spent and serves its intended purpose.