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Pastor, When Was the Last Time You Had Fun?

When do I turn off my phone and go for a walk with my family?

When do I stop checking Facebook, Twitter, and email to take a drive and/or walk in the wilderness (in Virginia) and simply thank God for his creation?

Why don’t I go to the neighborhood park to play basketball more frequently?

Why don’t I set aside more time to take hikes, take my wife out for a date more often, travel … have fun?

It is because I have developed a bad habit in pastoral ministry. I have not learned how to punch the mental clock-out card. And regrettably, if I keep going and going, like the Energizer Bunny, for the sake of pastoral ministry, I will not be a pastor that long. I will burn out. My wife seems to agree.

Pastor, can you relate?

Perhaps if I put it differently you can. What is your off-day?

According to my session, it is Thursday, but what happens when Thursday arrives? I am still sending emails, making home visits, receiving phone calls and the like. Thursday really is not an off-day then. Perhaps I check my email a bit less and I do not feel pressured to put in as many hours, but I do work.

Yes, I do work, and even as I type this, Pastor Rice’s question rings in my mind, “When was the last time you had fun?” When was the last time you took time out for yourself?

Pastor, can you relate? I hope you cannot, but my gut tells me you can.

In the past, I have tried to make sure I take a day off. That does not last long, however. I end up working. I am not sure what to do presently, but I am working on it. I hope that through counsel and actually implementing what I learn from older and wiser pastors, I can begin to have fun, that is, take time out for myself.

Pastor Rice, thank you for asking me this question. It still penetrates my heart.  

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leonbrown@churchleaders.com'
Leon is the Assistant Pastor of New City Fellowship of Fredericksburg. Leon is married to his wife, Rosalinda, and they have one child on the way. Leon served in the United States Navy from 1998-2008 and was the founder of the Evangelism Team parachurch organization from 2006-2010.