This is part of a blog series that has 30 practical tips for the pastor looking to start or restart well. You can get the entire series as a Kindle book. The landing page will be updated with each new post.
Taking Fridays off has been one of my most important ministry decisions.
I tell others who are interviewing with a church that an expectation to work Sunday-Friday is a huge red flag.
I love having Fridays off and prefer it because it gives me a true weekend off, but the key is that I get a day of the week off. Some swear by taking Mondays off because it allows them to rest and recover from a busy Sunday. If getting critical or passive aggressive emails or phone calls about the volume of worship or how you didn’t visit someone’s second cousin in the hospital is going to mess with you then take Monday’s off.
Whatever day you have as your Sabbath, whether it is a Saturday or a weekday the important thing is that you treat it like a Sabbath. Do everything in your power to do only things that energize you on this day and avoid ministerial responsibilities.
Ministry should give you energy and joy, but if you never stop doing that joy will be stolen from you as you shoot yourself in the foot with your inability to rest.
The only legitimate reason you have to work well into the night is so that you can protect your Sabbath.
Some people will turn off their phone or refuse to open the computer; I make it a rule to not reply to any messages unless they are an emergency. Find a process that works for you and then repeat and protect it weekly.
Again this is about taking the time early on to set a good precedent and personal habit, early on you don’t need a day off but you will soon.