The Responsibility of Time Off
With this newsletter, we begin four weeks of paternity leave for me. Putting it lightly - this is a challenge for me. It's not a lack of appreciation for my family. I love my family. I love my wife. I love our daughter - oops, daughters now. But it's not big secret that pastors aren't very good at leaving their job alone. We are known for burnout, fatigue, overworking, etc. A part of this is due to the fact that we are working 'for God,' so what right have we to step away from it to care for our families? Spare me any virtue signaling or gasping at that sentiment - it's just the true feelings that pastors don't express often enough.
This is also a challenge for me because, I mean, come on - Checkpoint is ridiculously fun. I'm not saying that every church isn't fun in it's own way. But I stream video games for our evangelism! We play Among Us as gathering time. I write sermons on anime. Give me a break - this is tough to walk away from because I'm both called to it and drawn to it. It's exactly what I love and want from a church community.
However, here's why I am doing everything in my power to step away for four weeks: it is my absolute responsibility. The pastor is a source of influence. Eyes are on the role of the pastor. Or any leader, really. So I am taking paternity leave because you should too, new dad. I won't even get started on maternity leave and the obvious need for that to be done drastically better than it is - but I digress. If I cast aside paternity leave, then it would set a precedent for those watching my actions. We could argue about whether it is needed, whether it is long enough or too short, whether it is actually doing enough or doing too much, blah blah blah. Those are conversations that are not anywhere near as important as the impact that a father will have on the life of his children. Even pastoral ministry is a job at the end of the day, family is a connected and separate thing all at once. And for me and my family, we know that I will be a better father, pastor, and leader if I take this precedential step and do what we believe to be the right thing. I hope you'll join me in doing this should the opportunity arise.