Since coming to Mokmin Church as a youth pastor 9 years ago, and as my role changed in many ways, my experience in this church has been nothing but amazing. Many pastors confess experiencing burn out in ministry and though I did have some moments of doubts and discouragement, I’m thankful that I’m still pretty healthy in my emotion and passionate for preaching and fulfilling the Great Commission.
Since I didn’t really have a huge burnout, I never took rest or vacation seriously. Of course, I took some time off from the church for special occasions like my sister’s wedding in Korea or praise band tour in other provinces in the past. But these time off was taken out of someone or my group’s need, not out of my need for rest. But as the years I preach increase, I’m beginning to realize the importance of intentional rest and break. Not just for myself and my family but also for our church congregation.
I personally don’t like missing our Sunday service because I really enjoy preaching and love worshipping with our church people. But the biggest challenge for pastors is to keep our message “fresh”. If we don’t have time to read books, expose ourselves to fresh viewpoints from others, our message begins to sound just like our last one. I usually preach about 45 weeks out of 52 weeks in a year. (all joint services and my annual vacations accounted for) In a typical traditional church setting, this might be considered normal, but in well-established churches, usually, the lead pastor preaches about 30 times a year since there are multiple staffs who can speak as well. It gives them to read and think more, which helps them to prepare quality message series ahead of time. Since I’m the only church staff in The Seed, I usually take two vacations in a year, sometime around April or May and September or October, to get ahead in my message preparation through more reading and listening.
However, another reason is to give an opportunity for our congregation to hear different messages from different people. Listening to the same person speaking 45 times a year can feel stale. So I try to incorporate at least one video teaching in a year for a fresh, great message on a specific topic of interest. Also, my absence can give a chance for other possible speakers to be raised up within the church. Of course, once we have multiple staff in the future, this shouldn’t be an issue at all.
My family is taking next weekends (Thu-Sun) off for vacation. Jennifer has been extremely busy for a few weeks and will get only busier until the end of August. Please pray for our family to get great rest. We will be staying in Niagara and attend a church in Niagara on Sunday.