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Take a Sunday Off—4 Strategic Reasons Why

If you are a pastor, you have a unique role at your church. Not a harder role, just a unique one. It is often hard for someone who isn’t a pastor to understand, but when you work at a church, going to church (whether you preach, lead, lead worship or coordinate things), you are working. Even if you don’t do all of those things (say you don’t preach on a Sunday but still go to your church), you are working. You are talking with people, counseling, shepherding, intervening. You are expending energy, leadership and care. This is good. This is what you are called to do.

However, the reality is, in order to have longevity in ministry and at a church, you need to have Sundays when you are off, when you are away, so that you can catch your breath to be the best leader or pastor you can be.

But how do you do that?

Here are four ways to use a Sunday off strategically:

1. Take a Sunday off. I wish I could just assume that you will take a Sunday off as a pastor, but I can’t. I know too many people on church staffs that are workaholics. Some because they choose to be, some because their elders expect them to be and some because that is the culture of their church (I worked at a church like this before). You have to decide that you will take a Sunday off. It is good for you, your family and your church.

The reality for some leaders is they will have to do some leading up to make this happen. This culture of seeing a Sunday off as a benefit to a pastor and a church is not seen by everyone. Every job has vacation days, and if you are in ministry, you should take every vacation day your church gives you.

2. Go to a different church. One of the best things a pastor can do is go to a different church and experience their service. This not only can be refreshing as you “feel like a normal person,” but you can learn and gain some great insights on how to improve your church. Seeing what others do, how they do elements in a service, can breathe new life into your church and leadership. If I’m not at Revolution, I always try to go to some other church. This also gives a pastor a great opportunity to sit with his wife for a whole service and not lead anything, which is a rare treat for a pastor and his wife as she normally sits alone while he preaches.

3. Stay home. This may sound sacrilegious, but hear me out. One of the healthiest things you can do on a Sunday off is stay home. Have a lazy morning. Take a hike. Make breakfast for your wife in bed. Play with your kids. Sleep in if you don’t have kids. Stay home. Should you do this every time you have a Sunday off from preaching? No, but once won’t kill you.

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Josh Reich is the Teaching & Engagement Pastor at Pantano Christian Church in Tucson, AZ, the author of "Breathing Room: Stressing Less & Living More" and is passionate about helping people take their next step in life, faith, and leadership.