I’m furiously trying to work in some time to visit our family this summer.  I really believe in vacations and getting away.  There is something extremely beneficial about being able to stop and not have to worry about the cares of office and home.  I also see from the Scriptures that God was pretty insistent about weeks of feasts and resting.  In fact, the extent of his requirements are several times a year, one day a week and one year in every seven years. 

There are always needs to be coordination in that regard.  There are some really neat vacation ideas that seem to happen within disability ministry.  One of the full-time staff of a sister ministry works hand in glove with the agencies in her county to accompany her members on their vacation times.  This has meant getting to know her members in a close and intimate way.  Another Christian agency has arranged for their staff to take their residents on trips and cruises that have been fun for everyone who is able to attend. 

One of the heads of a sister ministry is often asked to speak at camps that are out of the state.  He pays for his family to go and takes a few extra days to sight see.  In this way, they have been able to go to some pretty exotic places without it costing them a great deal.

Unfortunately, I’ve not been able to tap into any of these kinds of trip.  Additionally, I have grandchildren that I feel a great need to spend a few days playing with and hugging occasionally.  Working around schedules and deadlines is always a pull and tug game for anyone.  In a small ministry it is doubly difficult because there is no one to do the work while you are gone. 

There are some things I’ve learned along the way but not many.  I have a few suggestions but I think others are better at this than I am. 

  1. I take my phone with me.  In this way, I can either ignore it or use it.  And I have done both.  Yet during vacations, I’ve received two vital phone calls that I will always be glad that I took.  Both were from  families whose children and members of Special Gathering had died suddenly.  It only took a few minutes to speak with them and quickly arrange a meeting when I came home.  They were exceptionally grateful that I had taken their call when they found out that I was on vacation.
  2. I don’t take my work.  I find that even in the airports I’m not very productive.  I don’t want to do work.  Therefore, I don’t.  Over the years, I’ve learned to skip the complications of taking work.
  3. While I haven’t figured out a way to schedule my vacations so that I miss all the deadlines for newsletters and other events, I do try to work around these as best I can.  If there is a deadline immediately after I get home, I try to do the work before I leave.  In this way the work isn’t hanging over my head while I’m playing.
  4. If I want to do ministry-related things during my vacation, I do them.  When in Hawaii last year, I spent an entire day trying to find a ministry to persons with disabilities.  I found a workshop and visited it. 
  5. Try to not extend yourself too much before your vacation.  If you are too exhausted to enjoy yourself, you won’t get the fully benefit of your time away.  Spacing your work well ahead and planning for the time you will be gone is the key. 

Some of these things, I don’t do well.  I’ve become an expert of what doesn’t work.  What are some of the ways you have found that make getting away easier for you and for your ministry?