Making The Most Of Your Summer Getaway

For many of us in youth ministry, the summer is full of mission trips, special summer events, and changed programming for a number of weeks. Hopefully, it also provides us with a welcome change of pace and a getaway with our family or friends?

If you have a vacation planned, experience has probably taught you to make the most of your time away… It’s not long before September creeps up and we jump back into a busy schedule. Getting refreshed is paramount and it’s essential we don’t allow our vacation time to be negatively impacted.

Our ability to minister well year round will depend on how well we use our time away in the summer…

Summer Beach Umbrella

Here are a few things I will be doing to ensure I come back refreshed this summer:

1) Commit to being away and being ‘all there’: It’s easy to go on vacation and never truly switching off from ministry. Whether you are a volunteer, part-time, or paid, it’s easy to allow ministry thoughts to dominate your time. Commit to yourself, your family, and your ministry, that this is your time to be refreshed and not to worry about ministry. God is big enough, let Him take the worry from you…

2) Pour into your heart. While I am away, I try to take something to read and / or journal. While it’s hard not to think ministry in my quiet times, I try to read books / passages that pour into my heart and soul or help me escape the seriousness of life and ministry.

3) Commit to laughter and fun. Sure, this should be a given shouldn’t it? Studies have shown how laughter is healthy for us. I have no idea what you are leaving behind in your ministry, but I encourage you to plan a number of fun activities that will allow you to laugh and experience great joy. So often we get away and arrive at our destination without a plan. I hate to tell you plan out your vacation, but I would simply encourage you to plan a few fun activities rather than allowing your brain to default back to ministry.

4) Turn off technology! If your ministry revolves around you so much that you cannot get away without having to check your email and phone constantly, I would suggest there is something broken… I know many senior church workers who have modeled unhealthy ministry by having to be the one the church revolves around and cannot go away without having check constantly check email and phone messages.

Again, If your ministry revolves around you so much that you cannot get away without having to check your email and phone constantly, I would suggest there is something broken…

If there is no ‘go to’ person to take calls, messages, or deal with issues while you are away, I suggest you find one before you leave. In addition, leave away messages on your phone and email that allow people know the following:

- You are away and won’t be checking messages while you are away…

- The date you are back in the office, so they can expect you to contact them when you get back…

- The person who is taking calls and messages for you…

I know it might seem that my language and tone for this point is abrupt and to the point. It’s meant to be! I don’t want you and I to forget this one! So often we can go on vacation and be stuck on our phones and email accounts, while our families get the message, “you come second.” I know you and I don’t want to send that message do we? Don’t send that message, don’t check that message, don’t answer your phone…

Again… Our ability to minister well year round will depend on how well we use our time away in the summer…

Well, those are just a few of my guidelines I have created for myself? What would you add to this list? What has been most helpful for you? 

Phil <><

photo credit: via

  • ScottTinman

    Good word Phil…definitely needed to hear this with my vacation coming up right around the corner…time to turn off notifications and stay present with family and enjoy the time away!