We just returned from vacation. It was a wonderful month off—thanks be to God! More than ever, we were able to “take Sabbath”—which is the very thing we needed to do after a busy ministry year.
But now, on my second day back on duty, I’m asking myself: “Can I really do this?”
For the most part, I enjoy being a pastor. But today I’m not so sure I want to do this. Happily, August is generally a quieter month. But I know September is coming and I’m not sure I want to face the demands of ministry that lie ahead. What’s a pastor to do in these moments?
Yesterday I tweeted: “Back in the pastoral office after a month off. Trying to stay calm, reflective and grateful.”
Good intentions! So how do I do that?
Mainly, I try to ease into things. Be gracious with myself. I’ve found it’s better to plan a lighter first week back on duty. No meetings. Just sermon preparation and making contact with a few leaders and/or parishioners. I spend more time reading and praying—trying to get my head and heart back into a pastoral mode. I remind myself:
“These feelings are natural.”
“This sort of doubt is common.”
“This too shall pass.”
“Be calm and carry on!”
And after a week or two, by God’s grace and with his help, I feel better and am ready to move forward as pastor.
So, how do you prepare yourself for pastoral ministry after taking a vacation?