When you were a kid, what was your dream job? Many children fantasize about becoming a doctor or a rock star or a famous sports hero. When I was a young child, I wanted to grow up to be a superhero. When I was a teenager, my dream was to become a marine biologist. But then something happened two months after I graduated from high school. After meeting Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Saviour, I felt the call of God upon my life to become a pastor.
What a job, right? I mean, who wouldn’t want a job where you only work one day a week? At least, that’s the joke I hear often.
People don’t realize that because of the nature of the job, a pastor doesn’t ‘clock out’ at the end of the day. A pastor is on duty 24-7, and receives calls at home from morning to evening, sometimes even in the middle of the night.
So how many hours does a pastor spend a week doing his job? Obviously, every pastor and church is different, but allow me to give you a little insight into my ministry schedule.
One of my primary jobs of course is preaching the Word. Contrary to popular belief (or what may be practiced in some other churches), I don’t just pull a sermon-of-the-week out of a book. Sermon preparation for me usually begins right after the Sunday morning service as I begin seeking God’s wisdom and direction for the next week’s message. I take the time throughout the week to pray for God’s anointing to be upon the message, study Scriptures, research commentaries and other books, and search for interesting illustrations or stories to illuminate the Bible truth. It is not unusual for me to spend several hours a week praying over and preparing one sermon, often right up until late Saturday night. Although I’ve never timed it myself, researcher George Barna says that it takes the average pastor ten hours to prepare one sermon or teaching. However, preparing a message is only one small part of my ministry activities.
Every week, I spend varying amounts of time doing visitation – meeting people in their homes or restaurants for fellowship or counselling. Phone calls, text messages and e-mails with prayer requests, Bible questions, or simple requests for information about upcoming events are frequent. Church administration takes up several hours a week as well, with everything from producing our weekly church bulletin and updating our church website, to using e-mails and social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to communicate with our church family about upcoming events and activities.
Here is a quick look at my regular weekly and monthly scheduled meetings:
- our Christian club at the high school every Wednesday at noon hour
- home groups that I host and lead every Wednesday night (preparing and facilitating the Bible study discussion)
- youth group meetings every Friday night (everything from worship nights or Bible studies to games and activities)
- a bi-weekly chapel for seniors at South Haven Lodge every second Tuesday (includes singing hymns and preparing a Bible message)
- a chapel at Eastgate Lodge (Personal Care Home) once every six weeks (also includes singing hymns and preparing a Bible message)
- a council meeting one night a month to deal with church finances, budget issues, building and property considerations
- an elder’s meeting one night a month (where we pray together and seek God’s wisdom and vision for our church family)
- a ministerial meeting for all of the pastors in Beausejour and area that I host and lead at our church one day a month
This is not to mention occasional weddings, funerals, business meetings or community or social functions that I as the pastor am ‘expected’ to attend. Even if the pastor isn’t leading every meeting he’s at, he is always ‘on-duty’ wherever he goes. Add to this the fact that I often am involved in various other aspects of taking care of the church during the week including janitorial duties, and you will see that I have a very full schedule.
So how many hours would that translate into? Well, if there are 168 hours in a week, and I am sleeping for 49 of those hours (roughly 7 hours a night), then that leaves 119 waking hours in a typical week. Almost half of those hours – 50 – are spent in activities either directly or indirectly related to church ministry.
Needless to say, it is not true that a pastor works only one day a week!
That however is not the point of today’s blog.
Even though my job is a busy one – filled with stresses, pressures and burdens – there’s nothing I would rather be or do.
I am a pastor, and I have the best job in the world!
Pastor Chris Jordan
“Having been called to preach the Gospel, God forbid that I should stoop to be king.” (anonymous).
Check out the webpage for my new book: www.thebeausejourpulpit.com