When do you get a break from preaching? I know that you may love preaching and want to preach every week. But I think it would be wise to schedule a break here and there. Why? Here are seven quick reasons to not preach every now and then:
1. Your spiritual, physical and relational health will all benefit from taking a week or two off. An unrelenting preaching schedule will take its toll on you, even if you don’t recognize it.
2. Your temperature for preaching will tend to increase when you take a break, so you come back stronger. John Ortberg put it this way, “If you want to keep the oven hot, don’t open the door too much.”
3. Others will benefit from preaching too. Maybe you have other preachers who need experience to develop, or a fellow pastor who would be blessed by the encouragement of your congregation and the feeling of being trusted by you.
4. The preaching of others will benefit people in your church. Which leads me on to the next two…
5. Your church needs to know that you are not irreplaceable in the body of Christ. We may preach the priesthood of all believers, but some pastors undermine that by demonstrating the impregnability of “our” pulpits.
6. You need to know that you are not irreplaceable in the body of Christ. It might seem strange, but your church will not collapse because you take a week or two off of preaching. In fact, it will be good for your soul to be reminded that your identity is not anchored in your current ministry role. You can use it as practice for a later stage in life when you are not being asked to preach at all.
7. You can experience other aspects of church life. You may be tempted to schedule yourself to preach somewhere else – this is fine, but it is not a break from preaching. You could serve in the kids ministry, or on the welcome team, or serving refreshments, or whatever. At the same time, you could also sit in the congregation and benefit from simply participating in the worship and listening to God’s Word. Either way, it will do you good.