077 – Budgeting your vacation time [Podcast]

An answer to an important question for pastors

Budgeting your vacation time

 

Welcome to Season 2 of the Your Church Matters podcast.  In this episode (77), I am sharing some thoughts in answer to a question that came from a member of a private pastors Facebook group I manage.  Troy asked a question about vacation planning.

 

 

Troy’s question:

How do you guys budget your vacation time? This year’s time is already planned, but we are beginning to look ahead. With two kids now, one of which will be starting school in 2017, we are losing some of our freedom. There are pros and cons to different ways of budgeting the time, but we have a hard time deciding. We get 14 days vacation with 2 Sundays off each year. There is a big part of me that says to take all of it at once so we actually feel like we have been away. I read an article one time that said it takes a pastor 3 days to get the church out of his head on vacation, and he begins to prepare for his return 3 days beforehand. If that is the case, he has 1 day of vacation in 7 days. So, with that reasoning, it would seem the answer would be obvious, but it just isn’t. Many times it is simply way more expensive to take 2 weeks at once. Also, if you take two weeks at once, you have one real break away once a year. So, I am just wondering what other people do. What do you recommend? How have congregations reacted to different ways you have used your time? Thanks for your input in advance.

 

My thoughts:

I recently listened to an episode of Michael Hyatt’s This is Your Life Podcast (Season 8, Episode 3: How to vacation like a pro) that was absolute gold!  I’ll simply refer you to that link for his perspective.  It would be worth the investment of 30 minutes or so of your time.

As far as my own thoughts are concerned, I want to respond to some of the specifics of Troy’s questions and then share some general vacation thoughts.

Response to Troy:

  1. Congratulations on giving some forethought to your strategy.
  2. I would caution against taking all of it at once.
  3. Don’t believe everything you read.
  4. You can be informed by what other people do, but no one else has your context.
  5. The one consistent thing about congregations is that they are inconsistent.

 

General vacation thoughts:

  1. You need clarity on the purpose of every vacation.
  2. Vacations don’t happen in a vacuum.  Consider the church calendar for the year.
  3. Preparation for vacation is key
    • Preparing the church with plenty of information
    • Preparing yourself by clearing your plate
    • Deciding in advance how accessible you will be and setting up auto responders and emergency contacts
    • Preparing for re-entry when you get back
  4. A vacation doesn’t have to be expensive. Be creative and use networks.

 

My go-to auto responders:

  • Personal Email: I will be away and not responding to email from July 23 – August 1. If it is important that you communicate directly with me, please email me again after August 1. No incoming emails will be saved during my time away. Thanks, Gerry
  • Office Email: I will be away and not responding to email from July 23 – August 1. If you need something related to Harvest Baptist Association during that time, please email hba@harvestba.com. If it is important that you communicate directly with me, please email me again after August 1. No incoming emails will be saved during my time away. Thanks, Gerry
  • Voicemail: Hi, this is Gerry.  I will be away on vacation from July 23 – August 1 and will not be answering my phone.  If you need to reach someone with Harvest Baptist Association during that time, please call 940-627-0723.  If you need to speak with me directly, please call me again after August 1.
  • Text messages: Thanks so much for contacting me. I will be away from the office until August 2. Please contact me then. Blessings.

 

To comment on this episode or leave a question for a future episode:

1. Comment section below

2. Email: contactgerrylewis@gmail.com

3. Voicemail: 817-929-0643

4. Direct tweet @drgerrylewis

*Special thanks to Keith Cooper (Guitar Music)

*Special thanks to Nathan Woodward (Saxophone Music)

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