What do pastors do all week? That was the title of a recent commentary in the Houston Chronicle. Ken Gurley did a fair treatment in his attempt to broach the subject. I’ve often joked around with people stating, “Ministers only work on Sundays.” While we know there’s more to the job than just a Sunday discourse, few (outside of the clergy) have an adequate understanding of what really goes on Monday through Saturday. Just click the picture in this post and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
While I love what I do, it can be a daunting and overwhelming task at times. The pastoral role is an ever-changing dynamic influenced by a variety of expectations. So, what does a pastor do all week? The minister prepares, studies, leads, shepherds, prays, visions, encourages, teaches, disciples, helps, administrates, corrects, counsels, cares, represents, loves, laughs, and cries. With each one of those descriptors, you’ll uncover a multitude of tasks, responsibilities, and roles. The average minister clocks 50 to 65 hour work weeks depending on the season and circumstances.
Maybe the question should be rephrased, “What doesn’t the pastor do all week?” The great test of a minister’s work is found in the balance. Healthy ministers learn to balance the challenges, realizing work is never complete (and being okay with that), but learning to complete what does need to be done. This isn’t something that’s taught in seminary; it’s caught, learned, and derived by experience. The second test is found in not burning (flaming) out in the process. There just aren’t many opportunities for flamed out, burned out, and nearly exhausted clergy.