I really don't. Every so often I have friends who ask "what do you do during the week?" And I can't stand the question. Because other than referencing episode 9 of the Untold Podcast – and pretending like I spend all week combating ancient cults – I don’t have an easy answer at the ready.
I do know that whatever it is I do, I sure do a lot of it!
So, here’s my attempt to try and breakdown what I do with my week:
1. Sermon Preparation: 10 – 25 Hours
I know this one will perplex many people, especially since preach without notes and it looks like I am preaching “off the cuff.” But I firmly believe that preaching the Word of God with accuracy and effect is the single most important thing I do. Period. Preaching will take precedence over everything else, every time.
The hours vary greatly because certain texts are easier to exegete than others, and certain forms of sermons are easier to prepare than others. Epistles, for example are easier to exegete than a narrative. And preaching a conversational sermon is easier than a first-person sermon. Regardless, though, every sermon I prepare has many hours, many notes and a full hand-written and fully typed manuscript behind it. It is the singular most important thing I do.
2. Pastoral Care: 2 – 10 Hours
This is all-encompassing. It can include weddings and funerals (and all the preparation that goes into them). It can include hospital visits, phone calls, meals, in-office counseling, on-site counseling, scheduled visits, unscheduled visits, conflict management and even certain conversations over e-mail and facebook! (Outreach can often get lumped in here.)
3. Meetings: 1 – 6 Hours
This includes church leadership/servant teams and the prep time that goes into them.
4. Discipleship: 2 – 4 Hours
I’d like to think that many of the things I do make disciples in some way shape or form, but I need to be very intentional and work with a handful of people to grow them (and myself) closer to God and better mirror his character. (Outreach often gets lumped in here, too.)
5. Administration: 3 – 5 Hours
I’d prefer to just not do anything that involves paperwork, business e-mails or anything of the sort. But it has to happen. I try and delegate as much of this as possible, but there are some things a pastor will always have to do.
6. Personal Study: 2 – 5 Hours
While I use my sermon prep to meditate on the Scriptures and allow the Spirit to transform me, I realize that there are areas I just don’t know all that much about, or areas that I need to grow. Sometimes this is watching a philosophy video, or reading an apologetics book, or seeking out preaching-opinions so I can improve my craft.
7. Mentoring: 0 – 2 Hours
I have a number of mentors in my life spread all over the country. I don’t always get time in the week to be mentored, but I try to submit myself to mentoring regularly so I can gain perspective and wisdom from men who better understand things than me.
8. Services: 4 – 8 Hours
I almost forgot to mention these. But they count! I usually come early and leave late.
I’ve no doubt there’s other things that I’m missing, but I think these are the big things.
Now, you math majors out there are looking at the low numbers and thinking, Hey, on minimal weeks the pastor only has to work 24 hours! What an easy job! But I need to pause here and clarify a few things. First, in the nineteen months I’ve served at the Orchard Church, I haven’t had one single “minimal week.” Second, because my responsibilities vary in each area from week to week, I try to adjust my schedule accordingly. For instance, on weeks where I’m working on a first-person sermon, I usually don’t schedule many appointments or meetings because I know I’ll need the extra time. Finally, it is also important to note that on weeks featuring what I call “the perfect storm” I can easily work 65 hours (or more if we have special events and outreach)!
I think on average I put in about 50 hours into pastoral duties.
So, that’s what I do with my time during the week!
Pastors, friends . . . what have I missed?
*Note: I did not include “quiet time” in this list for numerous reasons that would take another blog post to talk about.