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Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by Serving Him, Jun 5, 2003.
Pastor vacation time
We helped our church set this up:
First year, no vacation. BUT every year the pastor can go to conventions and conferences at his/elder's discretion. + he can preach a week at camp or another church and not have it count as "vacation"
Then (first 3-4 years) 2 weeks with 3 weekends vacation
After 4 years get 3 weeks with 4 weekends vacation
When I say "weekend" a NORMAL man gets off work on Friday at 5 and for one "week" of vacation, he doesn't have to be back until Monday 8 am which is NINE DAYS.
A preacher doesn't get that. So 2 weeks off would be 2 6-day weeks. The extra weekend helps to give comparable time.
After 10 years get 4 weeks (5 weekends) AND then a 3-month "sabbatical" to travel, study under supervision of the elders but away from all church responsibilities.
I've been looking at several churches, and four weeks seems to be the norm. Sabbatical policies seem to vary, but they're usually after the four or five year point.
The Lilly Endowment, incidentally, has an excellent grant for encouraging sabbaticals for local-church pastors.
Officially I get three weeks I think. If I take them separately, I get the Sundays on either end. However, I have never taken them actually. The most I have taken in the 4 1/2 years I have been here has been one week a year. I just don't like to be gone that much. I rarely even take a whole day off.
The deacon's have basically told me I can take whatever time I want off. I think in my first few years here I proved my work ethic and they are not concerned about me abusing it. They have told me I don't take enough time off.
If I were to take vacation now, I would always take the Sunday following the vacation off. The simple reason is that if I have to preach on Sunday, I have to study that week anyway and that ruins any vacation. If you take a vacation, then take a vacation. Take some books and golf clubs and do nothing that you have to do. Make is a vacation.
As a pastor's son (and husband of a pastor's daugher), I can say that a pastor must take vacation time. This is an area were legalism is a good thing.
It is probably true that in most churches, a signficant number of the laity (especially the 'power members') consider the pastor to be at their disposal. So a pastor's vacation time must be understood by all of the laity to be absolutely hands off.
A pastor needs time to be refreshed and unobstructed time with family.
Concerning the amount of time allowed for vacation, the same consideration should be given to pastors as that given to other professionals.
An incoming pastor with little to no experience should have 1-2 weeks the first year with increases coming in the 5th, 10th, 20th, etc...
A pastor with 10 or more years of experience in the ministry should have at least 3 weeks coming (a gracious church will give 4).
A bivocational pastor should be given a bit extra consideration to keep the vacation time taken from his earning job from being consumed by church work.
What most thinking laypeople understand is that a pastor has a heart for his people. What most seem not to understand is that this heart needs time to rest and strengthen.
Final thought: I've seen a number of surveys that show that the average pastoral tenure is between 2-4 years. If this is case, as we are stingy with vacation time, pastors will never 'earn' the type of vacation time that other in similarly professional jobs can. This must be taken into consideration.
I get 4 weeks based on at least 10 years of fulltime ministry. I've only been at this church 3 years, but they take my total number of years in ministry in all the churches I've served.
I take all my time, and I get out of town with my family. A good friend of mine shared with me this week that he is taking his first real family vacation in 15 years with just his family. His oldest child is 15, and he has been too busy in ministry to take a vacation with just his family. I don't ever want to do that!
I kind of have it made, as an unpaid staffer. The church grants me the same vacation time I get from my secular employment. I just got back from a trip to northern lower Michigan. It was very nice. Of course, there were some issues that arose in areas of my responsibility. I felt slighted that neither the pastor or the senior pastor called me and let me know what was up in the situation. I found out after we got back. Now seeing what is being said, They were letting me get a needed break and rest, perhaps....