Last weekend Leighann and I had the joy of just getting away from here. Granted, we did not travel far. In fact, it was only two hours, but the ability and the freedom to get away was much appreciated. We are truly grateful for the opportunity we have to serve in planting and growing a church, but after over a year of being there every Sunday, it was nice to take a short break. The stress of making sure that the music was planned out, the media was functioning, and the service going off without a glitch can be overwhelming. It got me thinking of how often we burn ourselves out. I saw a statement by a pastor a month or so ago that said that if you were truly called to church service that you would never suffer from burnout, but I cannot believe that is the truth.
I believe you have to guard yourself from burnout. I am the first to admit I have to watch my own actions and go from there. I intentionally tried to stay as far away as possible from the details of the services this weekend as I wanted to not only be able to not focus on church the entire time we were away, but also to gauge what areas of the service I needed to focus on when I returned. Although I made a call on Saturday night to go over the final details of the service for the next morning, I was grateful that our Pastor and team were able to handle all the duties. I never underestimated their abilities, I just underestimated the amount of time I had taken to prepare them for the amount of detail that is required when your church is forced to set up and tear down each week. In addition to the normal preparation, we had a group come in to cover the music for the service in Leighann’s place and I knew that would be added stress on the team. Regardless, everything went smooth. It may not have went as smooth as I would have liked, but I am sure I will never know as I was not there.
Despite the surprise that we returned home to inches of snow on the ground as well as it being time to get some sleep, I felt refreshed. I guess it was the ability to not be concerned with the exact happenings of the day. Normally after the morning service on Sunday I am exhausted as I have already put five or more hours into the service that morning just to nail down everything. I find myself looking at the ministry and the amount of time people are away from the church in a different light. Don’t get me wrong, I do not think there is justification for a multiple week vacation every month, but a getaway every now and then may just be what is necessary to keep from destroying us. I now know that I can rely on the team we have built around the staff to get things done effectively when the time matters. Do I plan on taking another absence? Not for a couple of months.