There is an old joke that goes something like:
A minister’s job is the easiest job.
You only work one hour a week!
While it is true that ministry is an incredibly rewarding and life-giving profession, it is also true that it is far more than a one day a week job. I’ve had some members ask lately, “what does your week look like Monday through Saturday?”
Unless you are a preacher’s kid or work in a church or have served on our board, it is pretty rare to understand exactly what the minister’s weekly schedule looks like. Admittedly, I over-work. I’ve known this for years but it wasn’t until the Finance Committee asked me to chart my hours for our new mission-based budget that I realized how much.
Ignorance is bliss, or so I thought!
Generally, my work week includes 2-3 committee meetings, several pastoral care visits and phone calls, planning the service and order of service, writing for our congregational announcements and publications, several community meetings, sermon drafting, writing a children’s story, meeting with staff, responding the occasional news reporter, attending a rally or vigil, completing some outreach to our denomination, study, prayer, teaching, holding office hours, planning special services or life transition services (memorials, dedications, weddings) and then of course there is Sunday.
So when you add this is all up, it came to about 75 hours a week. That can’t be, I thought. So, we did the numbers again.
I hear the first step is admitting you have a problem.
And my problem is that I love my profession enough to work far too much.
I am a work-a-holic.
So, why is your minister confessing?
In truth, it’s two-fold. One is to share with you my own revelation in the hope that any of you struggling with this addiction might also do your own inventory. And the second is to quite frankly make myself accountable to changing a pattern I wouldn’t advise anyone in my office for pastoral care to take up.
So it’s time I practice what I preach!
Over the next few months, I will be working to create a sustainable ministry by crafting a manageable work schedule. I will be truly honoring my Sabbath Day, which will be switching to Mondays and will not respond to calls, unless of course they are emergencies. I wont’ be answering emails on Monday and plan to spend the day free of work.
Please continue to call me when you are in need and please continue to share your dreams and ideas about building a beloved community. I am excited to continue this shared ministry together. I am honored to serve as your minister.
In faith and gratitude,