I was talking to a pastor friend this week and he mentioned how many pastors he knew who by the time they retired had nothing to do because all they did was pastor their entire ministry. So now I want to ask Pastors young and old alike what do we do that’s fun?
I’m in my 50’s and have been a pastor since I was 27 years old. I have officially pastored as long as I’ve been married for 28 years. Before I started pastoring I had a bunch of different things I enjoyed. Let me list them briefly. I loved hiking, snow skiing, racquetball, swimming, baseball, softball, golf, camping and dirt bikes. Dirt bikes graduated into street bikes and camping graduated to mission trips. I collected baseball cards as a kid and loved to ride dirt bikes and go four wheeling. I fished a lot as a kid through my teen years and found deep sea fishing to be a fun treat. Bowling was another fun sport I did on occasion and even rolling skating some as well.
Then I got married and became a pastor and had 5 kids and life shifted from being a youth pastor to a senior pastor. As time marched on I gave up the dirt bike for a street bike, went to less baseball games and started playing softball in church leagues. In the last 28 years I have fished far less. In the last 8 years I think I have fished 4 times, sold my motorcycle twice in 8 year. I have not gone skiing at all in 20 years and bowled twice in a decade and don’t collect anything other than junk as my wife says. She's right the garage is full.
I know as we all get older some of my interest can change, but I honesty I still love baseball, swimming, hiking and some of the above things mentioned that I don't do because i've gotten too busy. But as I’ve aged and my kids have aged I have discovered how I have decreasingly done less of the things I enjoy. I would say much of that has been due to keeping up with the demands of church and family. But now I am realizing the things we like give us energy for the things we are called to as well.
Recently I sent out an email to a large group of pastors about who wants to attend a professional basketball game for a night of fun. I got two responses back from the youngest of 40 pastors. Their responses ranged from I can’t that week, but I’d love too. The older guys have not responded at all. I realize some pastors can’t afford it and some are busy and others probably do not like basketball, but I would venture to say the majority just have such full schedules that it just sounded exhausting to make the effort to go do another thing.
So what do we do for fun? How often do we do things for fun and is doing fun stuff for ourselves that important anymore? Sometime fun things require we react spontaneously. About 5 years ago a man from my church walked into my office and said, " pastor I got an extra spot on a western Caribbean cruise if you can figure it out within 24 hours". That day I had a luncheon with a Catholic Priest who I had befriended in our community. Over Lunch I told him how I had an offer to do something I had always wanted to do, but never had the time and money. He said what is stopping you from going? That was a great question and the more I thought about it the more fun it was to entertain the idea. After lunch I went home and asked my wife what she thought if I could pull it off. She encouraged me to take one of my week vacations and just do it. I wrestled that day with guilt and joy. In the end I found someone to preach for me and cover my tracks for 7 days and I went and enjoyed the best fun 7 day cruise ever and to date the only cruise ever. Pastors we need to have fun and sometimes we need to plan it in advance and other times fun will arise out of nowhere and we either jump on it and enjoy it or miss the adventure.
I have lived in my community for 8 years now. Before I moved here I use to play racquetball about 6 times a year. I have only played once in the last 8 years and the priest whipped but good. I realize as we get older we can’t always do what we use to do physically or as well as we once did it, but maybe it’s because we give up our fun stuff for being so busy that we “think’ we don’t have the energy to do it anymore.
Pastor I encourage you to look at your past and your present and keep doing the fun things that thrill you, energize you and motivate you. If you are too busy to do something you enjoy at least once a month then you are too busy with too many things. Let’s not make the fun things we enjoy become a faded memory, but a recent activity. Please don’t forget to enjoy life along the journey. Make 2018 a fun year of enjoying those things you use to do and long to do again. A happy pastor who enjoys the journey has more to give when the schedule gets demanding. Go have some Fun!