This morning I’ve been engaged in an interesting thread of responses to an email I received from Brian Jones, preacher at Christ’s Church of the Valley. He sent the email to a bunch of ministers around the country. Their responses have been interesting.
Here’s his email and my response:
Hey quick question.
I’m trying to figure out what most churches are doing regarding ministry staff days off…
Do you/your church give pastoral staff…
– Two full days off? Like a Friday and Saturday?
– One and a half days off? Like half day Friday and all day Saturday?
Thanks for sharing. If you want I can send you the results once I compile them.
Days off?!? We don't give our staff any days off because Jesus didn't take a day off, did he? Yes, "there remains a Sabbath rest" but the actual Sabbath day was nailed to the cross so here there are no wasted days of unfocused devotion to God for this New Covenant Congregation of Grace-Filled Christ Followers. Sure, Jesus retreated for moments of brief solitude from the crowds, so we allow our staff 7 minutes every day (as you know "7" is a sacred number) for solitude somewhere on our church property--but only on the church property, lest they not be out of reach when called upon by anyone who might need them for anything. If, for some reason, they really need a day off I just point to Sunday and their pay stub--reminding them that they are getting paid a full-day's wages for a couple hours of work on Sunday! Oh, one last thing….Vacation Schmaycation!
We give our full-time staff: -2 Days off during the week (Sunday is not an option). Most of our staff chooses Friday and all are off on Saturday. We don't have Saturday services, but 4 on Sunday. -A paid Sabbatical Day each month -They are required to spend at least 1/2 day of each week working outside of the church building in a public place (Starbucks, Borders, Library, etc.) so that they have the opportunity to build relationships with lost people. We call these "Eats with Sinners" days. -Because we believe our first ministry is to our families, each staff member is encouraged to adjust their work schedule (as possible and with a high degree of trust) to support being engaged in their family's life. For example, my staff all have young families. Most of my staff have kids in sports and other extra curricular activities. If their child has a 3pm Volleyball game on a weekday, I expect them to be at that game. If their wife has to go to the doctor for a morning appointment and the staff member needs to work at home that morning to help watch the kids, that's perfectly fine. If one of my staff member's kids is doing a special class presentation, I expect them to be there. If they need to take an unplanned and unexpected day off during any given week to invest time in their marriage or spend an afternoon with their spouse, they do it. Obviously, this only works with a high level of trust, professionalism, effective communication with key staff, a trusting Eldership, and an expectation that their work here at church will not be neglected. I completely trust my team and know that they sacrifice countless hours in service to our Lord and His church so I feel a deep sense of responsibility that we not lose our spiritual well-being, our health, or the hearts of our children as we fulfill the obligations of our calling to full-time ministry here at Journey. Blessings, Arron PS. I forgot to mention that we also give our staff vacation days (based on tenure), ministry days, conference days, and standard holidays off. -------------------