Average Schedule for Pastors

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by untangled, Oct 20, 2005.

  1. untangled

    untangled
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    Hey Brothers,

    For you pastors here: What is your average Monday through Friday schedule like? I have a smaller church and am starting out so mine is pretty flexible but it goes like this.

    Mondays I work half the day from my house and some time is spent in my office at the church as well(I am easily accessible to my people because I live within 20 feet from the church). Tuesdays I work until 5 in my office and sometimes later at night after spending time with my wife.

    Wednesdays I take the first part off to spend with the wife on part of her day off then I work from about 3 until church at 7:30pm. After that I will sometimes work on the next Wednesday or Sunday night sermon from my other office.
    Thursdays I will spend the day at the office and Fridays until around 4 o'clock. Saturday evening I go over my sermons for Sunday.

    I have two shut ins that I drop in on. One I have to plan in advance because she lives over an hour and 15 minutes away. I'm going to also start a visitation program for the older members that are not as active as they once were. I still have some time I can spare during the day but I have found that I spend most of my time on sermon preparation. I'm new here so just starting in the ministry. My church is 50 active on Sunday mornings.

    What's your schedule like?
     
  2. Brother Ian

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    Hey Brother,

    It doesn't look like you have an entire day off during the week. I would strongly recommend taking two complete days off during the week. Many pastors take Friday and Saturday. Some take Monday off. The bottom line is you need time to recharge as well.

    I applaud your devotion, but you need to spend more time with your family.
     
  3. PastorDave

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    Monday I will plan my week, begin some reading for my sermon preparation and try and take care of any administrative duties that need to be tended to.

    Tuesday morning I spend in sermon preparation. I will usually do my Wed. night Bible Study at this time. Tuesday afternoon is spent visiting shut-ins, retired folks, anyone who is usually home during the day.

    Wednesday is a full day of study. I am in my study all day preparing my Sunday A.M. sermon. Thursday is similar. I will finish any final work needed for my AM message and will prepare my Sunday night message.

    Friday is typically a half day in the office. I will prepare my Sunday School lesson, more administrative duties if necessary. I try and take the afternoon off and spend time with my wife.

    Like you, untangled I too find myself spending the majority of my time in sermon preparation. I enjoy it but at times am frustrated that I am not out of the office more and with my people. But with four sermons or Bible studies to prepare a week I see no alternative.
     
  4. untangled

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    Thank you both for responding.

    Brother Ian,

    You are right. I do need to take more time off for me and the wife. We planning to have a baby so I need alot of time with her. We do have time together but I always seem to go back to working on my sermon delivery.

    I preach three times a week with an average of 35 minutes of content each sermon. I would like to start more of a small group study on Wednesdays but I will have to work into that because that would be a little different then what everyone's used to. Wednesdays are a little easier because it is so laid back (somewhat)and I am teaching from a book/study. Of course I usually spend atleast 10 hours on that eventhough alot of the content comes from the book.

    Pastor Dave,

    Thanks for your reply too. I do not do too many administrative duties now myself. This is probably due to me having a small church. There are the occasional letters I write to visiters and church planning but not too much.

    To be honest I need to watch out because I don't want to be like some who are married to the ministry instead of their wife. Sermon preparation takes so much time. Eventhough now I have finished both my Sunday morning and night notes and just need to tweek them a little.. You both know how that is. [​IMG]

    In Christ,

    Brooks
     
  5. Brother Ian

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    Untangled,

    I am asked to preach on occasion in my area and in my church and as a Sunday School teacher, I have found I can prepare a message in relatively short order because I generally have the background research completed so I know the context. I must confess that I pray the Lord gives me a message from what I am already studying. Very often He does and much groundwork has already been laid.

    On the other hand, if you preach through a book of the Bible, you'll find it much easier to prepare. I provided pulpit supply for a local church and was responsible for Sunday morning, evening, and Wednesday as well as teaching Sunday School at my home church. I found it easier to prepare because I was already familiar with what I was preaching on. I find it easier to prepare a sermon than to teach a lesson, but it may not be that way for you. I'm not saying it was EASY, but it was easier than if I approached it cold.

    I also found it helpful that when I was studying a particular book or subject for seminary, the class provided some good background as well and I could prepare a sermon from my course work.

    I hope that makes sense.

    Rmember, you have only one wife. She'll always be there. You need to take care of her. As a career Navy man, I know the value of family time.
     
  6. ScottEmerson

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    Okay, so I'm a youth pastor, so my schedule is probably a little bit different from other pastors. Here's what mine looks like:

    Monday - Get to work around 9. Spend the morning catching up on administrative stuff from the day before (class rolls, making sure the youth room is clean, answering phone calls,etc.) I begin working on the worship service for the upcoming Wednesday such as selecting music and fleshing out my previously worked upon outline for my message. I also prepare for our college Bible study which meets from around 7:30 p.m. until around 9:30 or 10. (My wife comes with me to CBS, so that's nice.)

    Tuesdays are meeting days, along with finishing up completely my message for Wednesday night. I have an educational staff meeting (me, our minister of education, our children's minister, and our senior adult minister), and immediately following, we have our staff meeting, which usually takes about an hour-and-a-half to two hours. Every other week I go to make hospital visits. This is also the day that I get any kind of Sunday School business ready for the next day. During football season, I go and spend time with the local high school football team (they let me come and talk to them and everything - cool, huh?) I usually swing by the house and spend time with my wife before going to drama practice (I'm helping with a local production and it's been neat over the last few years to see the number of kids who are coming now, partly because of my involvement, but mostly because of our kids who are have been in the various dramas.) After that, Sunday morning praise team practice from 7:30 - 9:00 p.m. Then home to rest and spend time with my wife.

    Wednesdays I don't come in until later, perhaps eleven or even noon. I get our youth room ready for service, work on administrative stuff such as publications that we're sending out, and do whatever else needs to be done. We have our Wednesday worship service and then a fellowship time that night until about 9:30 p.m. (My wife gets to spend time with me at the worship service and at the fellowship time outside as well.)

    Thursdays is "take out the trash day" in the office - which means I get to do whatever else needs to be done for the week. I do a guy's Bible study at 4:00, followed by time at home until drama practice. I get home by 8:30.

    Fridays I have off (unless we have an event.) My wife gets home around noon, so we spend the rest of the day together. We also go to a couples' small group class that evening, which is a lot of fun (since I don't have to be the leader or anything.) After the Bible study, we go to a movie or have some sort of date night.

    Saturday, I'm off, so I spend a lot of time groaning about the Florida Gators and their inability to live up to my high expectations. We have season tickets, so we see them at Florida Field when its here.

    Sunday, I arrive at church at 7:30 a.m. for soundchecks. 9:00 is our contemporary service that I lead. 10:30 is Sunday School (I teach 11th graders). I go home from 12-4:45, until I go to student choir practice. We do discipleship groups that evening, and I lead a middle school class. Then home and getting ready for a whole 'nother week!

    We reach between 150-200 students during the week at the church, and I get the opportunity to do ministry with a couple of diverse groups. I love my job!
     
  7. PastorSBC1303

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    Monday -- Day off -- unless it is an emergency I do nothing regarding church.

    Tuesday -- Morning: Sermon Prep Afternoon: Administrative stuff & visitation

    Wed -- Morning: Sermon Prep Afternoon: Bible Study Preparation Evening: lead Bible Study and prayer meeting

    Thurs -- Morning: Sermon Prep Afternoon: Administrative stuff & visitation

    Friday -- Morning: Sermon Prep Afternoon: Sunday School Prepartion and anything else that needs to be done.

    Saturday -- Spend with my family.

    Sunday -- Church, Preach, Church, Preach, Meetings, etc
     
  8. Karen

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    I feel like jumping in and stirring things up! :D My contention has long been that if deacons were encouraged to have this much time off, a lot less would get done in church!

    (Yes, I realize the phone can ring at all hours with all kinds of emergencies, but in many churches, the phone rings for the deacon, not the pastor in emergencies.)

    I agree that pastors need to take adequate time off. But often, deacons and other church members have spent their only day off doing a Saturday project at church. Then they get up early on Sunday to drive the church van, teach Sunday School, etc., go back to church early Sunday evening for meetings. They go back to work on Mondays while the pastor takes a day off.

    I have seen many people spend their ONLY vacation doing a church mission project. The pastor goes on the mission trip but then takes a vacation.
    What I am trying to say is be sensitive to the family needs and recharging needs of your deacons and other involved members, as well as your own needs. Don't put expectations on them that you would not bear.
    People in my church guard our pastor's time. He also guards our time, I am happy to say.

    Karen
     
  9. Brother Ian

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    Karen,

    The pastor is of course, available at any time the congregation may need him. Deacons don't have the responsibility or spiritual calling that a pastor does and therefore a reasonable comparison cannot be made.

    If the deacons at your church are the only ones "working" at the church, then there is, obviously, a problem. I am not a deacon or a pastor, yet I am involved in numerous church activities. I teach Sunday School, play in the orchestra and am the brass section leader, I am the AWANA game director, and am on the finance committee. I have just completed organizing the showing of Left Behind III-World at War for tonight's nationwide release, the only showing of the film in my county. I also serve full time in the Navy, work for a cabinet maker, and have a contracting business. I attend seminary by distance learning. Yes, time off is important. I say all that not to show you how busy I am, but to say someone besides the pastor and deacons better be doing something in the church or nothing is going to get done. If being a deacon at your church brings the expectation that he is to be involved in every aspect of church ministry and activity, I believe that's unrealsistic and unfair to them and their families. There is nothing wrong with asking them to serve in a certain capacity, but they should not feel obligated to do everything. There is nothing wrong with the word "No."

    By the way, the only vacation time I am taking this year is to lead a short term mission to Romania and that is over the Thanksgiving holidays.

    I'm going to jump out on a limb and say your husband is a deacon, right?
     
  10. TomVols

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    Good advice: consider the day divided into three blocks of time, 3 hours each. Say 9am-12 pm; 1pm-4pm; 6pm-9pm. Never work more than 2 blocks a day, unless you comp time.

    My schedule:

    Monday - At least a half a day off, other part spent in visitation and light matters (administrative, etc.). No more than 1 block on Monday, but at least one block.

    Tuesday - Full day of sermon prep, for AM, PM, and anything on Wed PM. I may do a little visiting from 1-3, which are never my best study hours.

    Wed - Pretty full day of sermon prep: AM, PM, finish whatever is Wed pm. (On weeks we have our monthly business meeting, which will someday be quarterly, I do advance planning/study). I leave the office a little early since I have to be back for PM service.

    By Wed evening I have a great amount of work done for Sunday. This is worth a billion dollars, especially if a funeral comes up.

    Thurs - AM is for study, PM for visitation. I don't rush in on Thursday or I'll leave early due to Wed PM service. I do the same for any evening with a committee meeting.

    Fri - same as Thursday

    Sat - Time with my beautiful wife, save for 7-9am when I review my Sunday sermons while she sleeps in [​IMG]

    Sun - Preach and worship. Very little review is necessary if you follow the schedule I outline. I schedule NO committee meetings or the like on Sunday.

    Piece of advice: Try to take Wed away from a normal service where you have to come up with another sermon or Bible study. 3 sermons a week is too much, as Jay Adams and others have rightly pointed out. Takes too much of a toll on you. Besides, isn't it supposed to be prayer meeting [​IMG] Seriously, I have begun to move towards simply reading a large portion of Scripture, even a whole book at a time, and then spending 30-45 minutes in prayer. I say this is mandatory for bi-vocational pastors.
     
  11. Karen

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    Brother Ian,
    Thanks for your comments. Looks like mine were not clear. I was making a general comment about the expectations of a church for any involved member, including its deacons. No, my church does not expect deacons to do all the work.

    But your schedule is an example of how we can actually expect more of laymen than we do of pastors.
    I commend all you are doing, yet if you put as many total hours in as a pastor away from your family on the job, people in my church would think you were not getting enough time off. And your only vacation is a missions trip. It is not my business, and I don't know you. But I do hope that you spend enough time with your family. I hope you get to spend Thanksgiving Day with your family.

    Karen
     
  12. FundamentalDan

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    Well, you probably do not want to know my schedule, as it is way too hectic. I am currently trying to start a Spanish ministry at our church, and we do not have the money to support me financially. I work forty to fifty hours a week (or more) at my job. I work from 4 am to noon. Then, I go home and take about a two hour nap. Monday and Tuesday night, I do study in the evenings and some visits if needed. Wednesday is church. Thursday I have visitation. Friday a date with my girlfriend. Saturday I spend getting the lawn and church building ready for Sunday. I go to bed around 10 pm every day, and wake up around 3 am. To be honest, I realize that I am overdoing it. I was originally going to go on deputation before I came here, because I believe the Lord wants me to plant Spanish-speaking churches in the USA. However, I decided against it since I am unmarried and thought I could squeeze it all in. Now, with the prospect of maybe getting married some day soon, I realize I will have to either get this church to the size where it can support me or seriously pray about deputation.
     
  13. Brother Ian

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    Thanks Karen.

    I agree, everybody must do their part, whether deacon, layman, or pastor. Unfortunately, many Christians want to leave the work of the ministry to the "professional" Christians.

    What would happen if every Christian participated in some form of ministry? I think we'd light the world on fire.

    I am able to say no at any time. I have been led to be involved in the things I do, but I do generally enjoy everyday. I do spend time with my family and am blessed that we enjoy doing many activities together.

    I will be with my wife and kids this Thanksgiving. While we normally go to Maggie Valley, NC, this year we are going to SE Romania to preach (me), minister, and encourage believers in two villages. Its my third, my wife's fourth, my son's second, and my daughter's first trip to Romania. We'll have a great time, we'll be together, and most importantly, we will be serving the Lord. A great combination.
     
  14. j_barner2000

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    Tom Vols says...
    Piece of advice: Try to take Wed away from a normal service where you have to come up with another sermon or Bible study. 3 sermons a week is too much, as Jay Adams and others have rightly pointed out. Takes too much of a toll on you. Besides, isn't it supposed to be prayer meeting [​IMG] Seriously, I have begun to move towards simply reading a large portion of Scripture, even a whole book at a time, and then spending 30-45 minutes in prayer. I say this is mandatory for bi-vocational pastors. [/QB][/QUOTE]

    I have to agree. As a Bi-vocational pastor, I find I must do as much as possible in the least time possible.

    Sun 9-10 janitoral stuff at church
    Morn service from 11-12 and evening service from 6:30 to 7:30

    Sun-Fri nights 8:45 pm- 7:30 following morn work and transportation to work at secular jo.

    Sleep till 2:30 or 3
    Mon-Tue try to get in 2 good visits and 2 phone calss each day.
    Study for Wed prayer/Bible study. ( I try to get a discussion started and then just keep it focused on Wed night.)
    Wed work on Sunday sermon or answer for questions for Sun night.
    Wed. Eve prayer meeting/Bible study 6:30-8 PM, Then get ready for work

    Thur Try to get in at least 1 visit and 1 phone call... Study for Sun morn.

    Fri. Study for Sun morn and try to spend time with family

    Sat. Get up at noon... (remember I work all night 6 nights a week.) Do some maint things around church and parsonage. Then tie loose ends as far as sermon and sunday eve service goes... I try to concentrate on testimnies, music and scripture sharing... I also use this time to recieve questions or address questions I recieve from the congregaqtion. I reserve the right to defer answer for up to 2 weeks. I have had to request a 1 week extension on one particular question which is quite contentious... (armen vs. calvin)

    Try to get some more family time. The family time is normally pretty successful and we enjoy the time.

    [ October 29, 2005, 11:58 PM: Message edited by: j_barner2000 ]
     

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