Tuesday, October 14, 2008

An Hour On Sundays

Pastoring is many things and it's very hard to describe to people what it is. It really is something that has to be seen up close or lived through to understand. But I find when I'm trying to describe what a pastor's life is like, it's easier to describe what it isn't ... it isn't an hour on Sundays.

Let me tell you about last week. Even though we're just a small congregation, we handed out two sets of groceries to those in need on Sunday morning. I went for breakfast with one of the men of the church on Saturday morning to discuss various matters and play catch up because he and I hadn't had any time to get together for a couple of months now. Then I zoomed over to our local farmer's market to help my wife with the church stall we had there. That took up the entire rest of the morning, leaving me with only the afternoon and evening to prepare my lesson for the following morning. Naturally, the Thursday and Friday evenings had been spent preparing for the farmer's market; we made peanut brittle on Thursday evening and I printed and matted some photography on Friday night to sell. And I think I forgot to mention that on Wednesday nights one of the ladies in the church has my wife watch her daughter after school and then usually stays for dinner with us before we head off to service. And then Sunday evening, I updated the district news website. Phew. Good job this pastoring stuff only takes an hour!

We are constantly on the move and I'd be lying if I said it wasn't very draining. So draining, that I'm exploring available options so that I can give the church all the time it needs even at this early stage in its growth. Naturally, I have also been seeking the Lord's help to get through this difficult time. As I observed to a friend of mine yesterday, the congregation don't contact us in proportion to the time we have available for them. They have needs and call their pastor regardless of the time or convenience for us. My wife fields as many calls as she can, but even then she often needs to escalate the issues to me.

On one level this is obviously me feeling sorry for myself, but it is also to let people know that if their pastor isn't just coasting through, then they are one of the busiest people you know. As a bi-vocational pastor, I work a day job, but even the full-time pastors I know pull down a quantity of hours per week that would make a lesser man cry.

Allow me to leave you with this thought. Think of your pastor as a swan: quiet and graceful to see, but paddling like crazy underneath to make progress.

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