Has your pastor and his/her family had a vacation this spring? I hope so, because there is an increasing amount of pressure upon pastoral families. I know that all families face these issues, but sometimes even good folks in congregations forget that their pastors face the same kinds of pressures – and sometimes those pressures are multiplied by being “on call” most of the time. I remember many times as a younger pastor when I would attempt to take my family out for dinner, or on a vacation, or even to a family event – many times we were interrupted by pastoral emergencies. Of course those pastoral emergencies take precedence, and of course families of pastors understand, but lost time together is still lost time together.

I recently learned about a new opportunity for our pastoral families – our Indiana Conference camping ministry is offering a Pastoral Family Camp this summer, led by Pastor Chris Ellis. Here is Pastor Ellis’ description:

"Pastor's Family Camp will be offered at Camp Lakewood this July 5-7. Our aim is to refresh the souls of pastors and their pressured families. Our days will not only be filled with fun, like a normal camping experience, but also the Spirit-filled teaching ministry of Chuck and Becka Lehman from REST Ministries (www.rest-ministries.org). The Lehman's will be teaching us how to operate out of God's power instead of our own. The Lehman's will be joined by their ministry partners Leah and Jake Kaufman who will lead us in praise and worship. This new endeavor promises to be of great benefit to pastors (and families) and thus to our local churches. It is our hope that this inaugural event will be the first of many.”

Sounds like a great idea. I hope some of our pastoral families will want to attend, and I hope that their congregations will help them and support their attending.

Even if this is not the answer for every pastoral family, I know that every pastoral family needs some vacation or “get away” time. As Pastor Ellis notes, this is not about just helping pastoral families to have a vacation, it is about strengthening our pastors to be refreshed spiritual leaders for their congregations. 

So I ask again: has your pastor and his/her family had a vacation this spring? I hope so.