TLDR: My usual week is 50hrs MINIMUM (this is a very conservative estimate) - 15hrs sermon prep (grey), 15hrs development/discipling (green), 8hrs 1on1’s (red), 8hrs Admin (green at top), 5hrs Sunday/Church events (blue).
A question that pastors often get is “What do you do all week???”
This is an understandable question considering that the bulk of what people see happens on Sunday. And unless you are familiar with the ministry/church world it may not be so obvious what are the responsibilities of a pastor on a weekly basis.
Also, it is true the pastor’s schedule is very flexible. I have to make my own schedule and my own hours. This means that there is the possibility (and some pastors have been guilty of this) of not being a good manager of time. I assure you that I’m usually guilty of working too much rather than too little. The flexibility means for me that it’s easier to overwork and neglect important things like family. Heather often has to tell me to scale back and make more room for kids, marriage, etc.
The following schedule I’ve learned to put together over the past few years based on talking to and researching (Pastor’s Handbook, Lifeway Leadership etc.), other pastor’s schedules (Piper, Keller, Local Nashville pastors) to find something that works for me. It is still a work in progress but hope will give some insight. Ultimately I serve God and the Unity Fam. So I’m definitely open to suggestions/changes how I could better use my time to serve y’all better.
So here’s a breakdown of my typical week!
Sermon Prep: 15 hrs, I have checkpoints to finish a certain amount of sermon prep by certain days. Checkpoints include personal meditation, researching commentaries, writing rough drafts and outlines, editing drafts, making powerpoint slides, practicing and memorizing sermon. Writing a sermon is like writing a 5 page research paper and preparing a presentation on it every week. I usually schedule time in the morning. However, with my wife’s health issues she is usually sick in the morning which means I have to take care of Sawyer. Thus, most weeks I’m up around 5am on Sundays finishing my sermon and sometimes do not finish until 10:30am Sunday morning!! To have my sermon done earlier, I need either my wife to get healthier, my kids to both be in school, or cut back other activities during the week…I expect that once Sawyer is in school that my sermon prep will be done much sooner. #hoping #stilllovemyjob
Development/Discipling: 15 hrs, I have several commitments that focus on developing/discipling leaders every week. These include: Shepherd’s meetings (every Thurs night), Bible studies (Living Life, Men’s Bible Study, 101 class, week night or sunday), House church (Saturday night). I also have 4 monthly meetings (Deacons training, House of Prayer, Joint Leaders Meetings, Church Planter’s fellowship), . If you have 4 meetings that happen once a month, that turns out to be weekly haha. I’m usually committed 3 or 4 nights a week, every week. #developleaders #purposeofchurch #makedisciples
1 on 1 Relationships: 8 hrs, since the beginning of the year I’ve made it a priority to personally get to know and start building relationships with everyone at a church. My goal has been to meet four different people 1on1 or as a couple every week. I’ve done this every week since the beginning of the year. I used to think it was futile to try because we have 65 people on an average Sunday, which means at 4x a week i’ll meet everyone maybe once in 3 months! However, now I’m taking the approach that even though it’s not great but it’s still a way to show people I care. #fam
Admin task examples: planning for Sunday, long range calendar planning, event planning, setting up and preparing for meetings, EM building maintenance, website/social media upkeep, updating church budget and receipts, blogging about church (like this post) and more… #visionplanning #unitycalendar #meetings
Variations: Several times a year go to conferences in-town or out-of-town. Pastor’s also have many things that come up with life circumstances that we do not control or schedule. It means that we have an “on-call” lifestyle that we have to be ready to adjust and take on sometime’s in a moment’s notice. These include: Weddings, funerals, hospital visits, emergency counseling sessions. #weddingsarefun #funeralsarenot
Not counted as “work time”: family time I keep a rule to have 4 blocks of time with family per week. Usually it happens on Monday (my one day off, most people get 2 days off), and in the afternoons I pickup Zane from school and spend a few hours with the kids before going to an evening meeting. I also don’t count times of just hanging out in groups ie birthdays/outings, or 1 on 1’s outside of my 4x week quota. #familytime
All in all, it’s a unique lifestyle that pastor’s have but I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world! I love my church and I love my job. It’s an incredible honor that I continually work on to improve. I frequently ask older wiser pastors how I can improve and try to implement them. I want to be the best pastor I can be for my people. Love you guys! - PD