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Equipping Pastors: C.J. Mahaney on Leadership and Vacations

Thanksgiving is less than three weeks away. The holidays are upon us. We are posting this early to be a help to you as you finalize holiday plans and before they have commenced. 


By C.J. Mahaney

Full article available here. Reproduced with permission.


What a family looks like—what a family experiences on a vacation—is largely determined by the father’s attitude and leadership prior to and during the vacation. Some fathers charge into a vacation at a place like Disney World committed to visiting every venue, seeing every show, and experiencing every ride. Every moment and detail has been planned with military precision as the father leads his wife and children on the long-awaited mission. But by noon the first day, the family has spent most of the morning standing in long lines growing more sunburned by the minute. The children are tired, cranky, and hungry. And the father has been passing his time while standing in line reflecting on the serious chunk of his salary he invested in this forgettable experience. And he is not smiling.


Other fathers choose less trendy vacation spots. This is no Disney dad. No way! This father takes his family to the lake or the beach. There are no lines here. Here the days will pass slowly and predictably. And if he’s not careful and purposeful, this father can wrongly assume that location alone guarantees a wonderful and memorable vacation.


It’s possible for this father to view the family vacation as a peaceful and beautiful context where he can primarily rest and relax with little required of him. His wife and children desire his leadership during this time but rarely experience it. And they are not smiling.


Here’s what I’ve learned. The difference between forgettable vacations and unforgettable vacations is not the location or attractions. Nope. The difference between forgettable and unforgettable vacations is the father’s attitude and leadership. This makes all the difference.


C.J. writes 7 lessons in leadership on vacation in his full article:

1. A Servant Heart

2. A Tone-Setting Attitude

3. An Awareness of Indwelling Sin

4. Studying Your Family

5. Skillful Surprises

6. Intentionally Together

7. Gratefulness to God

Read C.J.'s full PDF article here.