5 Ways to Protect your Day Off

Youth Specialties
April 17th, 2018

My first year in full-time pastoral ministry was exciting. We had so much planned and I didn’t slow down until a staff member came into my office, but not to tell me that I had a phone call, to confront me about how my wife and I weren’t taking a day off. They had a point, but let’s be honest and just admit that taking a much needed day off is much easier said than done. At least for me it was. Ministry requires much of our attention. However, after about several years in full-time ministry, if I am not intentional about taking a day off, chances are, it won’t happen. In fact, I had a friend once tell me; “be careful how you fill your calendar.” How true that statement is!

It’s okay to take a moment to breathe, and it’s most certainly okay to take a day to focus on you! But, how do you do that in the midst of a busy youth ministry? Here are five ideas that have helped me to protect my day off:

Be Intentional
I can’t stress how important this is. If you are not intentional then don’t expect to protect the days that you need for yourself. Our days off are just as important as any other day of the week. Be sure to make this day a priority. Let others on staff know that you won’t be around. Commit to ignore office calls and texts.

Put it in your Calendar
One way of being intentional is to put your day off on your calendar. I have learned that if it’s on my calendar, then most of the time I will see it, remember it, and act on it. In order to honor your day off, make sure you put if on your calendar. Your day off might be the same as other staff members, regardless, take a day that will work for you. When your day off is on your calendar, and you know that day off is coming, you can schedule your routine around that day. And, make sure your day off is on the church calendar too!

Keep Yourself Accountable
In one position, I had a staff member keep me accountable to my day off. In fact, she was always reminding us to leave the office on our days off. She saw the need for my wife and I to take a day to ourselves, because she also saw our busy calendars. If you have a difficult time with taking a day off, it helps to have someone to keep you accountable. I have heard pastors say that they don’t have anyone to handle their office responsibilities in their absence. Our feelings of importance often keep us from feeling comfortable leaving the office for the day. It’s important to delegate so responsibilities are still being accomplished by people you can trust.

Plan your Day
What is something you enjoy doing but rarely ever get the chance to do? Your day off is your time to do that one thing that brings you joy and fulfillment. Once your day is on your calendar and you are being intentional about taking a day off, then begin to plan your day away. What do you want to get done in the morning? What do you want to enjoy in the afternoon? How do you want to relax in the evening? When you plan your day out in advance, there is then a sense of urgency to do what you want to do.

Make this a Discipline
I am reminded of the Nike slogan “Just do It.” If we don’t take a day for ourselves it will rarely be done. We need to remember what’s at stake when we don’t take time for ourselves – our wellbeing, our family and other relationships, and our time. I often say to myself “There are never enough hours in a day to get done what I want to get done.” The truth is, we need to prioritize what needs to get done verses what we want to get done. Making our day off a discipline will help us in cherishing what matters most, so that we can continue to serve God and others to the best of our ability.

Larry Fulmer is a Lead Pastor and Corps Officer within The Salvation Army in Western Pennsylvania where he has served for 4 years. He is passionate about ministry and taking every opportunity to share with those within the community the good news of the Gospel. He is married to his wife Ashley and serve together in full-time pastoral ministry. Follow Larry on Twitter | @FulmerLarry

Youth Specialties

Youth Specialties exists to elevate the role of youth ministry and the youth worker to grow the faith of the next generation.

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