Taking a Sunday off is a rarity for me as a worship leader.
In fact, over the past 4 years I could count on one hand how many Sunday’s I’ve taken off. One of those was for my honeymoon and the another was for the flu.
Now you’re probably thinking…maybe I’m just understaffed? – I’m actually not.
Do I not have unqualified people serving? – I have VERY qualified people serving with me. Most are more qualified than me to be honest.
Am I control freak?- Absolutely not…I love giving people opportunities to shine.
So what’s my deal? Why do I never take Sunday’s off?
It’s because I don’t really think about it.
Taking time off has always been an afterthought for me. Despite my extensive use of a calendar, marking dates for me to take off is one of those things I just never really got into the habit of doing. I know it’s weird, but It never occurs to me that I need to take a weekend off until the week of when there is no way I can find someone to fill in for me in time. Those are the weekends when I bury my face in my hands and wish I was on a beach somewhere in south Florida, skiing in the Rocky Mountains, or just sitting off the stage worshiping with my congregation.
If I continue the direction I’ve been going, I fear this trend of one Sunday off a year will never stop. I will never have extended weekends and will always have that feeling of just wishing I could take a break from waking up at 6am on Sunday to warm up my voice and prepare the church for worship. You and I both know that leading worship on a weekly basis is no cakewalk. Yes it’s a ministry… but it’s also a labor of love that pulls from you physically, emotionally and spiritually.
As Worship leaders, we need to take a few Sunday’s off every year.
Taking a few Sunday’s off enables us to do things like:
- Visit other churches- Visiting other churches is extremely important. It gives us the opportunity to worship corporately with others we do not know, expose us to other worship songs and styles, develop relationships with believers outside of your church, and even learn from other churches on how they do ministry. I have a friend that purposely visits other churches at least twice a year for these reasons.
- Take long vacations- We all need vacations that give us enjoyment and rest. It’s hard to have a fun and relaxing vacation if you are always trying to work around a Sunday. This is especially true to you drive or fly somewhere far away.
- Change up the pace- We are creatures of habit and most of us run schedules. Sometimes it’s good to break the schedule and do something completely different on a Sunday that’s out of character. I have a friend that makes it a point to take one Sunday a year to see a beach sunrise alone. He uses this as a special opportunity to reflect and meditate on Gods Word.
- Worship with your congregation- Being among your congregation occasionally is great for them and you. It gives you the opportunity to sit back and worship while giving them the ability to be on the same level. I’ve been at churches with congregations that can treat both the pastor and worship leaders like rock stars simply because they are always up on the stage elevated above everyone. Being on their level reminds them (and you) that you are both equal in God’s sight.
Barriers to cross-
For some worship leaders, the biggest challenge is just picking the dates to take off and sticking to them.
For other worship leaders, the challenge is finding someone who can fill their shoes in their absence. After all, we don’t want just any person off the streets leading out our congregation. That person has to be someone we trust to do the job well and also not deviate too far off from our church’s overall style. Easier said than done.
When it comes to picking dates and finding your replacement, planning ahead is the common denominator. If you’re at a larger church or have many musical volunteers and resources, you may be able to get away with planning ahead 3-4 weeks. If your church is smaller and has less volunteers or resources, this may require you to plan 2-3 months out to find your Sunday replacement. I have many worship leader friends in both boats. Some of them have to call around or use booking services while others have multiple worship leaders at their church that already rotate. Whatever your situation is…make sure you plan ahead.
What happens when you take off?
For starters, if your replacement is better than you… you may find yourself jobless when you come back.
When you take a reasonable amount of Sundays off, you are guarding yourself from burnout. It also encourages spiritual growth for you and your family (if you have a spouse, kids, dogs, guitars you’ve named, ect…).
How many Sunday’s a year do you take off?
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