Sunday, May 18, 2008

What do pastors do?

Some of you may wonder what pastors do on a daily and weekly basis. A recent study published in the book God's Potters:Pastoral Leadership and the Shaping of Congregations, by Jackson W. Carroll, includes a report of a study that I'm including here. Consider sharing this information with youth or adults in our congregation who you believe are called to pastoral ministry. It could help them begin to understand how pastors spend their time and what God's call means for them.

Hours Spent in Pastoral Tasks per Week for Mainline Protestant Clergy

Preaching, including preparation 10
Worship leadership, including preparation 4
Teaching, including preparation 4
Training people for ministry 1
Working to convert others 1
Pastoral counseling 3
Visiting members, sick, and shut-ins 4
Visiting prospective members 1
Administering congregation's work 5
Attending congregation meetings 2
Involvement in denominational affairs 2
Involvement in community affairs 2
Some other task 2
Total 48

This description seems relatively accurate for how I spend time as pastor, with a few corrections. Since our members go to hospitals in three or four different towns, and because we have many shut-ins and sick, my average visiting time is more like 10-12 hours per week. I also spend 4-6 hours per week reading theology or other work related literature. Also, administration takes a bit more than 5 hours per week, maybe more like 7. So my total work week is about 60 hours, give or take. I also spend about one hour per day in prayer, something the study also points out but doesn't include in the list of "tasks."

Hope this is interesting information to share with the congregation. Blessings to each of you in your own work. I love this work and am thankful for the opportunity to serve as pastor.

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