So, as a pastor I can speak to this issue that I was confronted with today. Here is how the conversation went, "so how is your wife with you not being busy all the time? Sundays and Wednesdays must be your busiest days each week."
This question is one, I in no way take offense because it was a common, innocent enough question. In fact, I find humor in these sort of questions. I am the type of pastor that welcomes any kind of question in order to help someone understand things in life. So, let me speak to this issue in points.
1. Not being busy all the time: Those of you that might be reading this who are pastors will always get a chuckle out of this statement. It is true for me personally that I am not cruising 8 hours a day 7 days a week like I would if I was to work at a factory. However, I remember clocking myself one week on how much time I spend working on church things and it came in at 56 hours. Though there may be a day or two where very little is required of me, there are far more times where much is required from a pastor as explained in point #2.
2. Sundays and Wednesdays must be your busiest days: On the contrary, these are not the busiest days for me. At Radiant Fellowship we do not have a Wednesday night service but rather a Tuesday and Thursday night small group. In fact these are a pretty easy going days for me. Our worship leader does our Thursday night bible study who has a real gift to do this sort of thing and I do the Tuesday night small group at my house. Sundays? Well, I am actually prepared for what I am going to speak on and the other details (preparing bulletin, putting sermon into outline form, making power point, etc.) by the Thursday night before Sunday. This allows me when I get to church on Sunday not to be sitting in the back room away from everyone trying to put my sermon together or anything. Rather, I am out mingling enjoying friendships and getting to know other people on a Sunday morning. Oh, and it allows me time to get a cafe mocha from our cafe!
Now, let me expound on what goes on in a pastors life beyond just midweek services and Sundays. Again, let me say I am in no way offended by the question. I think it is good for people to understand what goes on in the life of a pastor in a week. And I will do this by going 1...2...3....4 etc. This is not a complaint, these things are things that anyone going into ministry should accept as part of their life call into full time vocational ministry, i won't speak for every pastor but I ENJOY THESE THINGS!
1. You think you have family problems? Trying compounding your problems with the problems of 1, 4, 6 or more other families or individuals that are telling you there problem and may even want advice on how to fix it. This is a weekly event...as a pastor I welcome it, we all need someone we can talk to which is why I am here. So, meeting with people can consume a lot of time, that's okay, that is why I am here. Even my closest friends and board members will never be privy to the information I hear from those who need an ear to bend.
2. Secretary? In many small churches including Radiant Fellowship, a secretary is not necessary in this size church. The pastor just assumes these roles and personally I enjoy it quite a bit.
3. Counseling: You have a problem, need advice, just someone to talk to? That's why we are here. In 2009 I had 5 marriage counselings and 4 pre-marriage counselings which means 4 wedding ceremonies. Sounds like an easy task but each couple meets over 6-7 weeks for an hour and a half per meeting. This can be emotionally draining for a pastor to deal with other peoples problems as they listen and become part of the discussion to help people reconcile a marriage or prepare for marriage. Again, not a bad thing for a pastor...I enjoy helping people in these areas.
4. In many churches, the pastor is also a maintenance person as well for the building...enough said on that. Preaching one moment, trying to dislodge a doogan from the toilet with a plunger the next. I even had to remove some creative fecal artwork off the wall in the men's room one week. YIKES.
5. Meetings: Each ministry has a leader and each leader wants guidance and coaching to make there ministry better. Meeting with people can be time consuming but it betters the church and the people that attend. Meetings are not always short either.
6. Community involvement: I will speak personally on this matter. As a representation to the city of how a church can be involved in a community I served as a City of Waupaca Police Department Chaplain and soon to be "County Chaplain" which includes random ride-alongs with officers, meeting with someone who may be suicidal, or delivering a death notice to someones door. I was on the board at the Pregnancy Information Center, I was on the board of directors at the Waupaca Area Chamber of Commerce, and also a Waupaca Jaycee member. These are all things that are time consuming as well but I enjoy it.
There are more things that go into a pastors life beyond what I listed (3 a.m. calls from someone on my personal cell who is ready to give up, the trip to Chicago because the parents of someone has a car that won't start and they need to pick their kid up from the airport, and much much more, going to Appleton 2-3 times a day for a to drive a husband who is to elderly to drive himself but desperately wants to see his wife in the hospital, funerals, etc.).
When do I fit it in? My wife is a full time neo-natal ICU nurse and works during the days. When Tracy gets home at 5:00 p.m. While she is at work I am thankful that I get to watch my kids throughout the day. What happens though is when Tracy gets home, I will have dinner ready. After dinner I than go to the office and deal with appointments until midnight. So does a pastor work on just Sundays and Wednesdays....not this one, those are my easy days. Whoever you are at whatever church, be sure to encourage your pastor and pray for them often.