15 July, 2006

Vacation Now Means No Cell Phone!

We made it home from Orlando late last night and began wading through the mountain of mail and email messages. I still have to go see what mail awaits me at the church... which I know most of will probably be bills (just like the stuff at home) so I really don't want to see it.
We had a good time on this trip, although I have learned a painful lesson. From now on, my cell phone will not be making the trip with me! I took it so that in the event of an emergency I could be reached, but that was a mistake. I had to deal with over 30 calls from church members before I finally stopped answering the phone. A couple of the calls were pretty important, even though there was nothing I could do for them but pray. Somehow, I don't think people realize that a vacation is designed to get one away from the stress and pressures of the job at home. The stress level just increased knowing that people needed me and I could not be there. Frustration levels increased because time with my family was put on hold, or lost altogether while I spent literally hours on the phone. I love my people, but I wish they would think about my needs too.

The word "vacate" means to leave... to get away from. I guess this does not apply to a pastor. Life as a pastor means you are working or on call 24/7, so vacation is the same.
People want the pastor to be accessible, but when and where does it end? Phone calls at 1:30 in the morning for an emergency are a part of the job for sure, but it should be an emergency, and not just wanting to talk. That is abusing the relationship with the pastor.
Next vacation will be a "vacating" for sure. The cell phone is NOT going with me.


Neil said...

It's the people not the phone! Don't answer it, let them leave messages and you screen who and what you want to respond to. When I leave for vacation I don't call home to check in, my secretary knows where I am and in the case of an emergency I can be reached. You could begin a program called the Elder of the week, one of your elders is the contact person, if he deems it essential to contact you, he calls you, explains the issue, deals with it on your behalf, or if you feel the need to respond...do so!

Don't be driven crazy by the phone, it may just be a short drive!

David Reish said...

I've taken a vacation from the cell myself recently, I have set the ringer to silent and if I happen to see the phoen light up, I might answer it... does that make me a bad person? We all need a break. Glad you're back, once you get waded through the emails, bills and messages, make sure you reserve at least two days for all my church issues and problems... I'll be calling your cell around 2AM to talk about what you're having fro breakfast!

ruthrap said...

sorry your cellphone was a pain in the butt on your vacation. I've learned that its best to turn it off or leave it at home when you don't want to be bothered.........what did we ever do without the blamed things!!!!!! welcome back pastor...we missed ya!

Sean McKee said...

I have found that if you leave the phone shut off it never rings...