How Much Time Do Pastors Take for Vacations?

This topic was hotter than I expected.

I asked pastors and other church staff about the amount of time taken for vacations each year. Most of the responses came from pastors, and many of those pastors were pretty intense about it.

They spoke of their dire need for vacation time; of the constant interruptions during vacations; of learning the hard way about forfeiting vacation time; and about some church members who don’t believe pastors should take any vacation time.

After I put the survey out on social media, I received many responses. Here are the reported annual vacation times, mostly from pastors:

  • None to 1 week 21%
  • 2 weeks 28%
  • 3 weeks 14%
  • 4 weeks 25%
  • 5 or more weeks 12%

The results were fascinating, almost forming a perfect bell curve. But note that nearly half of the pastors take only 0 to 2 weeks of vacation.

We also heard several other issues related to vacations:

  • Very few pastors take all of their allocated vacation at one time.
  • Many of the pastors were very sensitive about how many Sundays they missed. Some of them were in churches that would not let vacation time be inclusive of Sundays.
  • Two factors typically contributed to more vacation time: size of the church and length of pastoral tenure.
  • One-third of the pastors volunteered that they always take fewer vacation days than the church permits.
  • Some of the pastors are challenged to take vacation time if their spouse works. Coordination of schedules is not always easy.
  • Bi-vocational pastors, as a rule, have much greater difficulty taking vacations than other pastors.

What is your vacation schedule? What are some of your thoughts about vacations?

Let me hear from you.

Posted on October 25, 2017

With nearly 40 years of ministry experience, Thom Rainer has spent a lifetime committed to the growth and health of local churches across North America.
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  • I am a minister in South Africa. We are given a weekend off (Thursday night – Tuesday morning) each quarter which we can schedule at our discretion. We also have 4 weeks annual leave (no weekend off during that time). As Superintendent minister, I carefully monitor my colleagues leave time, insisting that they take their weekends off (planned) each quarter and also that they break their annual leave so that they have a compulsory mid-year break (at least a week) and the remainder at their discretion, with at least a week over the festive season, if needed. We have an agreement that we alternate Christmas off. I insist on allowing my ministers to have quality family time and will go in to bat for them if anyone has a complaint about their time off. The value of this arrangement is phenomenal for the minister and his family, and also the church. When we are off, the laity must assume full responsibility for the functioning of the church. Whenever a minister is on leave, they are not allowed to be bothered with anything, including death of a parishioner. Those not on leave must fill the gap. I believe, as senior minister, I must care for those who work with me, even if I have to forego some of my privileges. I also insist that on significant days, like anniversary or something similar, they are given the day off so that they can spend that day with the wife.

    A colleague once had 11 funerals in 25 days (honestly) and I insisted he take a week off afterwards. I felt he needed to find himself again, to be replenished spiritually. I also got the church to pay for him to go to a retreat centre that week. He came back a new man, and I’m glad God opened my eyes to see how I could minister to him.

  • Chris Hutchins says on

    I agree many full-time pastors don’t officially take the amount of time offered to them by their church (and my comments are for the full-time senior pastors).

    But look, taking their maximum vacation time vs. how they often fully exploit their work week to their advantage (without their congregation’s awareness) is unbelievably imbalanced — a secret, albeit understood, perk of ministry Senior Pastors, for the most part, keep to themselves.

    Senior Pastors enjoy a flexibility in their day-to-day schedule that, at best, would make most congregants green with envy, and at worst, lose respect for them and their work ethic. This is exactly why many congregants look at Senior Pastors with immense skepticism (whether they openly vocalize it or not) when it comes to the topic of the Senior Pastor’s vacation.

    It’s very difficult to say (with a straight face, at least) to the single mom being paid minimum wage working the checkout line at Wal-Mart, the nurse who has had two patients die while working a double shift, the public school teacher who has to hold down two jobs to make ends meet, or the highly trained social worker being paid peanuts to work with suicidal teens, that you, O suffering Senior Pastor, are in “dire need” of a vacation.

    Let’s be clear: The Senior’s Pastor’s privilege of working in an environment where he can be seated for most of the day in a quiet, comfortable, air-conditioned/heated building, with little noise, and the absence of an ever-present boss breathing down their neck, where they have free reign to study, write sermons, and drink coffee if they wish, is an idyllic scenario that would prove shocking to the majority of people in the pews.

    While there is the occasional crisis, on an average day, the Senior Pastor’s biggest interruption is from people who love him, who are unfailing kind to him, and offer him implicit trust. And let’s not forget, the ability to take your deacons or members (whichever category of high rollers they fall into) to breakfast or lunch — on the church’s tab!! — all the while, justifying that said free meal as a “ministry” expense. Not to mention, how not intentionally taking “official” vacation time can carefully choreographed to appear as if you are really sold out to the ministry (“He just works so hard, doesn’t he? He’s the hardest working pastor I’ve ever seen!”)

    This, your pseudo-exhausting, powerful, almost completely unchecked day-to-day career, is an absolute DREAM for most people.

    Your job IS most people’s vacation.

    Ministerial vacations are always obtained, one way or another.

    While the majority of Senior Pastors do not take official vacations in the traditional sense, they undoubtedly enjoy the perks of a career which provides them with an almost obscene flexibility to take time away during normal work hours if needed, or even wanted.

    I have never encountered one full-time Senior Pastor who has to go through the process of gaining approval from their deacon body in order to leave the office if they need to visit the doctor, pick up their sick child in the middle of the day from school (or leave work themselves if they are sick), or take the afternoon to “work from home” (*wink, wink).

    Please understand, this is not the experience of your congregants.

    At all.


    If one were to follow the typical, full-time Senior Pastor around for one year (I would even say six months), I believe they would discover the total time full-time Senior Pastors spend not doing “pastoral duties” during church office hours would WELL compensate them for their lack of “official ”vacation time — especially in the eyes of their congregation (and yes, for all the “but, but, but, what about the odd hours I have to spend doing “X?” Yes, I am also taking that into consideration as well).

    I’m not saying a Senior Pastor should not take official vacations, but I am saying — and with a great amount of confidence — the knowledge and realization of what I’ve stated above is one of the primary underlining reasons they don’t regularly use their allotted vacation — even if it’s never admitted aloud.

    • I’ve been a blue-collar worker. Have you ever been a pastor?

      • Chris Hutchins says on

        Yes. I am a pastor. In fact, for over 15 years full time. I just understand how congregants can sometimes feel regarding this issue and how it can grate on them, but feel they can’t say anything to a pastor because he is a “man of God” or else have accusations of being unloving or bitter if they simply breach the subject by asking questions. Some pastors tend to become very angry with parishioners simply if they are questioned, as if infallibility reaches into their pulpit, too. It doesn’t.

        But many pastor’s have the damaging coupling of a fragile ego and bully mentality which matasisizes quickly and hurtfuly whenever they are critiqued.

        I know, because I am a pastor, and I know them well. I know the tendency and “inner sanctum” of pastors that many pastors refuse to tell others, yet their congregation suspects may be true, but are often too afraid to ask out loud.

      • I’m sorry, but given the complete ignorance that you displayed in your comments, I find it difficult to believe you’re telling the truth.

      • Chris Hutchins says on

        Ok. There’s nothing I can do if you’ve made up your mind. You’re obviously free to believe what you want to believe. My thoughts were not ignorant and I most certainly am a full-time pastor.

        I’m sorry you feel the need to disparage someone’s intellect, or attempt to discredit anyone’s ministry creditials who might express disagreement with you, or have a strong opinion of disagreement with a particular viewpoint.

        However, I would strongly encourage you to ask yourself (no need to answer here on this forum, just in your heart with God) whether my comments were truly ignorant, or whether they may have hit too close to home?

        Also, consider what you would say or think about someone who accused you of ignorance after you said something from your position of pastoral authority which made them feel uncomfortable, while hard to hear, but nonetheless, true? I dare say, you may think they’re under conviction and God may be calling them to check their own heart to see if there “is any wicked way in them”.

        Just a thought.

        I’m sorry you feel this way.

      • “I’m sorry you feel the need to disparage someone’s intellect, or attempt to discredit anyone’s ministry creditials who might express disagreement with you, or have a strong opinion of disagreement with a particular viewpoint.”

        Yet when you disparage the character and integrity of other pastors, you say you’re “just being honest”. Well, I’m being honest in my appraisal of you. Maybe you’re blessed with a cushy ministry, but many of us are not, and we will thank you not to take out your feelings on the rest of us.

    • Christopher says on

      You’re obviously very bitter.

      • Chris Hutchins says on

        No, I’m not bitter in the least. I am honest, even to myself and my fellow colleagues. I also know how to express myself clearly and without pretense we often allow ourselves as pastors. Honesty and checking ourselves is never a negative, often it is the most liberating thing to accomplish. Simply because I didn’t write a glowing affirmation doesnt indicate bitterness or hurt.

        If anything church history in the month October teaches us is that those who profess themselves to be shepherds and caretakers of others souls had better keep themselves in check. If not, then another brother who sees the error of our ways is not out of bounds to address the issues at hand.

      • Ben Campbell says on

        “Honesty and checking ourselves is never a negative” is a true statement. However, attacking other pastors with your statements having neither provocation nor supporting evidence is always a negative. And, that is exactly what your initial comments are.

        “If anything church history in the month October teaches us is that those who profess themselves to be shepherds and caretakers of others souls had better keep themselves in check. ” This is also a true statement, but it is one that you, unfortunately, chose not to heed.

        Given that you profess to believe these statements and simultaneously believe the diatribe that was given in your initial comments, it is honestly not surprising that some would choose to question your qualifications.

        It would probably just been easier to ask you a couple of questions:

        Over your 15 years of ministry, in how many churches have you served?

        What were the reasons that you left each church?

        Honesty is always better than assuming.

      • Chris Hutchins says on

        “However, attacking other pastors with your statements having neither provocation nor supporting evidence is always a negative. And, that is exactly what your initial comments are.”

        I’m not attacking anyone. Being critical of the actions of those within one own profession isn’t an attack. I’m sorry you feel that way.

        I don’t understand exactly what you mean by your second paragraph…

        “Over your 15 years of ministry, in how many churches have you served?”

        “What were the reasons that you left each church?”
        I left my first ministerial role where I served in a secondary staff position to take my current full-time position as senior pastor.

    • Christopher says on

      Did you try to preach one time and nobody liked your sermon?

      • Chris Hutchins says on

        Yes, since I am a pastor, I have preached. Many of my sermons are loved; however some fall flat as we all have had from time to time.

        However, if you wish to continue the discussion, let’s remained focused on the comments or the article.

    • Christopher says on

      In all seriousness, I’ve recently spent many hours driving to a hospital in Dallas, and many more hours grieving with a family whose son attempted suicide and eventually passed. I then spent a Saturday officiating the funeral and grieving with them all over again.

      This happened while I am also dealing with a staff person who is being insubordinate and dishonest but has a strong following in the church, including some deacons.

      Of course I’m still expected to prepare a sermon each week that will teach, motivate, inspire, and entertain the congregation all at the same time.

      It’s true I don’t have a boss breathing down my neck. No, I have a 100+ bosses breathing down my neck. One misstep or one wrong word can blow up in my face.

      There is a certain freedom in going to work, doing your job, and coming home. In most jobs you do X, Y, and Z and your good. You can look forward to advancement and regular pay raises and a long career, if that’s what you choose. When you’re a pastor you can do X, Y, and Z to the best of your ability and still have half the church mad at you, not to mention a continually uncertain future. Such are the “perks” of being a pastor.

      • Chris Hutchins says on

        Thank you for doing what you do. The question is never an issue of pastors refusing to do their jobs when they are required when a crisis arises. I think I mentioned that clearly in my original post.

        Obviously, I don’t know your church, but if you have “100 bosses breathing down your neck,” perhaps there is something you need to change in your leadership approach, especially if your church is under 500.

        If one misstep can ruin you in your church, you’re either A. In a church that is toxic and you need to remove yourself or B. You have repeated behavioral patterns that has led your congregation to be on the lookout for your (last) mistake.

        I’m sorry about your staff memeber, but ask yourself if you are part of the problem in contributing to his behavior? It seems, with your quick responses to my critique, you may be quick to speak and slow to listen, perhaps impulsive, and fearful of losing your job. Obviously, I don’t know you, so being definitive is impossible. I would, however, encourage you to be self-reflective as a leader before you blame other staff members for insubordination.

        If you’re seeking advancement, there are other careers which would be more fruitful.
        And no, not all careers are “do X, Y, and Z and [you’re] good” and get advancements and pay raises. In secular employment, as in ministry, your “good job” is simply rewarded with a paycheck. Unless you’re dealing with high yielding careers such as doctors, lawyers, engineers, etc. your assessment on advancement is inaccurate.

        It seems as if you’re saying you can exploit any ministry area that seems appropriate to you because, ”Hey, I’m not being paid enough”. If that’s the case, that’s sad, and it would be best to reverse your thinking and approach.

        Yes, however you deem it, my critiques are valid and are certainly perks -often unspoken perks because we know how it would siund to our congregants – of being a senior pastor.

      • No, your critiques are not valid. You should like someone who has absolutely no idea what he’s talking about.

      • Correction: You *sound* like someone….

      • Chris Hutchins says on

        Ok. I’m sorry you feel this way.

      • Christopher says on

        Wow, way to level the personal attacks! You’re obviously very bitter.

        Just answer one question: How is it my fault if a staff person is dishonest?

      • Chris Hutchins says on

        I’m not saying it is your fault. What I AM asking you to do is to stop, evaluate, pray and listen. In fact, there was a great article at Lifeway Pastors this week called, “You’re Fired!” that talks about this very idea.

        And I’m not attacking you. When someone responds by using words such as: “may, could be, possibly, or perhaps,” it’s not an accusation, but instead, an invitation for reflection.

        If you believe the way you’re going is great, you’re doing well, and have everything under control, fantastic! I’m happy for you! But it seems (again, “seems”) as if these are areas you’re currently struggling with. I didn’t advise on anything you haven’t previously allowed out of your own box.

        Consider this: I think the hardest things for us to do as senior pastors is be self-reflective and evaluative, and it especially offends us at times when someone calls us to do so because we’re expected to have all the answers (in our own minds at least).

        While your staff member may very well be insubordinate, what I’m calling us to do as senior pastors is check our leadership – to check and see (since the staffs we lead are under our care and very important to our success) if we also play a role (intentionally or unintentionally) in our staff’s feelings of anger, bitterness, or feelings of discontent. This, I believe, is a hallmark difference between being a CEO style pastor vs. being a true shepherd for everyone in our church, including our staff.

        Unfortunately, sometimes senior pastors forget their staff members are people, too, and are often treated like cogs in the wheel instead of people who matter in the churches we lead (especially when the senior pastor is angry or struggling).

        Most insubordinate staff members feel this way at their root (even if they are expressing it incorrectly through being openly insubordinate) and are desprate to be heard because they are hurt, or may behave been hurt by the person in the church charged eight their care and don’t have an outlet in the church to voice their concerns as someone in secular employment would to an HR Department.

        Again, so that we are clear: I’m not accusing you of being responsible. I don’t know the situation. However, regardless of whether I know it or not, asking a senior pastor to reflect on what part they may be contributing to a staff fissure is not outside the bounds for any pastor to consider.

      • Christopher says on

        Hmmm…didn’t answer the question.

    • Obviously my friend, someone has created bitterness in your heart and I am so sorry for that. Someone has done you very wrong and abused your trust. I hate that this is your view of a real pastor. I hope that the Lord will heal you and will ask Him to.

      The true undershepherds among us who love God and the church, how ever many members our churches have, combined with those outside the church who watch us closely, is the number of bosses (not a good term actually) we have.

      Only a man of God who has served a while realizes the true press of maintaining balance and unity and harmony in the local assembly.

      I have been a builder and a remodeler for all of my adult life. I have served as the mayor of my city, I have served as a trustee on a school board, and I now run a local attorney’s office. None of these positions have carried the weight that having the oversight of the flock of God carries.

      I am now in my 27th year of pastoring and the weight of the eternal destiny and the current well-being of the church of the Living God is more of a challenge to me than ever before.

      It consumes my heart and my mind at all times. Some, as you have pointed out, may abuse their privilege in the ministry. But not those who love the people of God as they should.

      My responsibility, my duty, and my care for God’s people is not a job, it is a calling. Hence, I serve at all times, but as a Christian, I also have a responsibility to my family.

      Even our Lord instructed his disciples to “come apart…”.

      As a man of God, if we don’t “come apart” to rest ourselves from time to time, then we may come apart, our marriages may come apart, and we could lose our children while seeking to minister to the children of others.

      Hopefully my friend, you will find a true undershepherd who loves your soul and shows concern for you to the extent that he would be a helper to your faith, and an encourager of your faith towards the workers of the Kingdom.

    • Don’t let some of the negative responses get you down, Chris. Some of the commenters have a history of writing bitter and aggressive comments, often showing a complete lack of compassion, wisdom, discernment, and humility, and indeed sometimes indicating an unregenerate heart. It’s rather sad when pastors fail to acknowledge their shortcomings and seek to lower the standards of what is required of them. Many of them would stone Spurgeon to death if he were still alive today (like the Pharisees of old, who claimed to revere the ancient prophets while at the same time continuing to reject those prophets who were alive and speaking to them). I read this just today:

      “A lazy minister is a creature despised of men, and abhorred by God. “You give your minister only £50 a hear!” I said, to a farmer. “Why, the poor man cannot live on it.” The answer was, “Look here, sir! I tell you what: we give him a good deal more than he earns.” It is a sad pity when that can be said; it is an injury to all those who follow our sacred calling. We are to be examples to our flocks in all things. In all diligence, in all gentleness, in all humility, and in all holiness we are to excel. When Caesar went on his wars, one thing always helped his soldiers to bear hardships: they knew that Caesar fared as they fared. He marched if they marched, he thirsted if they thirsted, and he was always in the heat of the battle if they were fighting. We must do more than others if we are officers in Christ’s army. We must not cry, “Go on”, but, ‘Come on.” Our people may justly expect of us, at the very least, that we should be among the most self-denying, the most laborious, and the most earnest in the church, and somewhat more. We cannot expect to see holy churches if we who are bound to be their examples are unsanctified. If there be, in any of our brethren, consecration and sanctification, evident to all men, God has blessed them, and God will bless them more and more. If these be lacking in us, we need not search far to find the cause of our non-success.” (C.H. Spurgeon, The Greatest Fight in the World, 1891).

      Many church members would indeed love to be able to spend hours every day in studying God’s Word and reading, or in having fellowship with their brethren. That would be recreation to them.

      Our church family is just as literally our family as our earthly flesh and blood relations – and should not be regarded as of secondary importance. Church members are responsible for caring for each other, and the needs of our Christian brethren is as much our responsibility as the needs of our own earthly families. It’s sad when a pastor regards teaching people as a duty and drudgery, rather than doing it because he loves people and delights to see the unregenerate being saved, to see the saved growing in their knowledge and understanding of God and His Word, growing in holiness, and serving God more fully and effectively with their lives.

      Spurgeon also said, “If I went anywhere for choice company, I should certainly resort to the members of my church.” On this website the church members are often characterised as the enemies of God, of His Word, and of the pastor, and the pastors often feel a desire to keep at a distance from their flocks, to avoid getting too familiar with them in order to preserve the distinction of rank, and feel at liberty to move from shepherding one flock to another as the whim takes them. But when do parents ever exchange their children? When to do we disown our brothers and sisters? A person who leaves home and breaks all contact with his family for no good reason is despised by the world. How can pastors or church members be commended for effectively doing the exact same thing? – and yet this has become the norm. A man who professes to love God but has no love for his brethren shows that he does not love God at all. Love seems to be the attribute which is most glaringly absent in churches, in pastors and members alike.

      Many of my thoughts may be going off at a tangent from the topic under discussion, but they just came naturally. I thought what you wrote was understandable (to any reasonable person), and even if people thought it wasn’t applicable to themselves, there was no reason for their dismissive and rude responses. Seeking to silence warnings, and seeking to close their ears to criticism, hardly seems indicative of a healthy state of affairs.

      • Chris Hutchins says on

        “Don’t let some of the negative responses get you down, Chris.”

        Trust me, it doesn’t. I do read careful and think through what they mean and where they’re coming from, but in terms of it getting me down, it’s not an issue.

        Everyone has the right to comment on their perception of things. If I were to get down when someone is critical of my comments, how would that not make me hugely hypocritical?

        I recognize everyone brings their past, baggage, history, and experiences into how they perceive the things they read. So, it’s good to have a venue for expression from a diversity spectrum of voices.

        However, I have come to the realization that when the greatest amount of clarity meets the greatest amount of forthrightness, vitriol is the often the natural result.

        “Many church members would indeed love to be able to spend hours every day in studying God’s Word and reading, or in having fellowship with their brethren. That would be recreation to them.”

        Amen and bravo! Certainly it would be recreational for many of them, and that is one of my driving arguments. We do taxing work many times, but pastors need to be extra aware of how we talk about the struggles of our jobs. Much of average day-to-day careers would seem very luxurious to many in our pews.

        “there was no reason for their dismissive and rude responses.”

        Honestly, it’s perfectly fine. If someone decides to deviate from the traditional “agreement comment” of an article, and instead writes pointed, direct criticism, they shouldn’t expect the feedback to be all sunshine and rainbows – regardless of what field they work in. Even though some were offended by my comments, a little of what I wrote may have sunk in (even at an unconscious level), and will, hopefully, give pause next time they are tempted complain about this area of ministry (as we all are tempted to do from time to time).

        “Seeking to silence warnings, and seeking to close their ears to criticism, hardly seems indicative of a healthy state of affairs.”

        And yet, unfortunately, this is one of the heaviest criticism laid at our feet. And to tell the truth, that criticism is valid. We can often be critical of others, or the world, but are shocked, dismayed, and thin-skinned when we experience it in return. Trying to silence criticism is a fail-proof indicator of guilt at some level.

  • Mark Slattery says on

    I could not be more happy with the church that I serve in this area. On day one I was granted 5 days. After three months, 2 weeks. Now that I’ve been here 10 years, I get 4 weeks. In July I took all for weeks at once just to spend time with my family, and never heard a criticism about it.

    Additionally, I am not only allowed but encouraged to attend conferences, retreats, and camps such that when combined with my vacation, I miss 8 Sundays a year. What a great group of believers I serve with!

  • Recently I was called to a new church and they allotted me two – weeks for vacation and three personal days yearly. As a Bi- vocational pastor churches need to revisit their policy or bylaws in allowing the pastor to be away more than they do. Being a pastor cannot be compared to a secular job in which many churches compare vocations.
    Thanks for your post today

  • Mark Smith says on

    How many people in ANY JOB, when on vacation, get called back to work. In my life I have never heard of it! So, when you are on vacation, pastor, you are gone… and the church needs to realize that. Rest please.

    • Mark, it most definitely happens when people get called back to work or have to deal with work issues remotely when on vacation. I’m in the community newspaper business (yeah, I know I’m a dinosaur) and I’ve done stories several times when on vacation. It does happen. I’m not saying pastors should be called back to work while on vacation, but it definitely happens to some of us.

  • Recently I was called to a new church and they allotted me two – weeks for vacation and three personal days yearly. As a Bi- vocational pastor churches need to revisit their policy or bylaws in allowing the pastor to be away more than they do. Being a pastor cannot be compared to a secular job in which many churches compare vocations.
    Thanks for your post today

  • At the church I serve I have an employment contract and it gives me 4 weeks leave a year, including 4 Sundays off a year and includes provision for 1 weeks leave to be paid out in cash every year upon request no questions asked (all our full-time staff have this provision – we have 3 full-time). The reason for the provision to have 1 week paid out was to help us have the resources for say a vacation or for things like Christmas. My elders don’t make me take leave but every 6 months or so they do ask for our leave schedules on the basis they want to do their part to help us all stay the course and not burn out. I have to say it does make us feel valued.

  • I am a Children’s Pastor. I get 4 weeks which includes 4 Sundays, so a total of 20 days. I do not have to count Fridays or Saturdays as vacation days. I also get 5 personal days that are now just lumped into vacation days. However, that means if I go to the doctor for a half a day, that is mark as a half day off. We get 12 paid holidays. We also get sick days that include if my family is sick and I need to take care of them. We get one day a month. Sick days can build up over the years. Vacation time can only be carried over one year. I am in a church of 600-700. I have only been at this church for one year but I have been in ministry for 30+ years. When I came to my current church, 4 weeks was one of the negotiating pieces. I don’t take them all at once, but I could. Here is the thing. If I don’t take care of my family first, I have failed. Being able to take time off might be one reason I have been married for over 33 years and both of my boys are in full-time ministry. And we all still love spending vacations and holidays together.

  • Thom, I’m assuming when you talk vacation time you are talking paid leave, right? For the individuals who can’t afford to take a vacation. Vacations don’t have to be expensive. It might include hiding away at Barnes & Noble for an entire day or going fishing in a quiet place.
    FWIW, I get 25 days a year paid time off. I work for state government, having been here 38 years.
    I tend to nickel and dime my hours, coming in an hour or two late or taking a long lunch,
    so in the last 5+ years I’ve taken a one week vacation, once, last spring to visit relatives 1500 miles away. Drove 2 days out, spent 3 days there, and took 2 days to drive back.
    It seems to me pastors with 2 weeks off should actually get 15 days, the 1st day off being a Sunday and the last day of vacation also being a Sunday.
    All in all it is a pity being called by God to preach seems to be reduced to a paid job.
    I like what I do for the state, taking a day here or there for me makes up for taking a whole week off at one time. The only time I remember taking two weeks off in the last 25 to 30 years was to go on a short term mission trip.

    • This line jumped out and screamed: “it is a pity being called by God to preach seems to be reduced to a paid job.” It’s a pity indeed and I believe, God is not pleased with it. Pastoring is not a job, it is a calling!

  • Tim Smothers says on

    I am very blessed with the three weeks vacation that I receive each year. The expectation from the church is that I will use all vacation time in that given year. Our deacons have gone as far to request that I take our worship services off as well–the moment my bride and I walk into the church I am “at work.” Our deacons handle the appointments of the week and only call me if there is an emergency that I am needed for. It is wonderful to belong to a caring fellowship that is concerned about our health!

  • Shelvin Lamb says on

    As a 25 year worship pastor, I have learned: pastors, take your vacation, all of it, every year. Don’t abuse it, but don’t get to the end of the year and have days left. If you work hard, and love pastoring your people, few will complain that you take every day allotted.

    By the way- pastors, it is not a badge of courage when you say how you never get a vacation or break. That’s on you. It’s a recipe for burnout, breakdown, and/ or failure of you don’t. Churches- give plenty of time off for your pastors. God will honor that

  • ConfusedMinister says on

    When I first started in ministry, I took one Sunday off in 3 years. And I remember the Sunday I took off, the next Sunday a member walked up to me and said, “I invited a friend last week to hear you. You weren’t even here. She is probably never coming back and most likely will go to hell. Thanks a lot.”

    I was silent. Didn’t respond. Quite frankly, I was shocked. Internally, I was sick to my stomach. And I was never the same at that church. (About 10 years this happened.)

    • That is just terrible.

      • Did she come to hear you or to hear God, who can speak through any man? It is God she needs to hear not you, God is only using you as His vessel. He has many other vessels through whom He can speak to her and draw her to himself. Please, free yourself.