Thursday, January 26, 2012

A week in the life of a pastor

Very few pastors have a "typical" week. Pastoral ministry is subject to the vagaries of human life even more than the typical profession, because the lives of so many people intersect the life of a pastor.

There are some constants: we always "land" at church for Sunday (and sometimes midweek) worship, scheduled weekly bible studies, small group, or staff meetings. But the other peculiar aspect of pastoral ministry is how free the pastor is, much of the time, to create their own schedule.

So here is a record of how I spent this past week. It's one way to do this work, certainly not the only way, but definitely a blessed and pleasing way to spend time in God's mission to the world.

Saturday (January 21): I was supposed to have been in Seattle, Washington attending the Phinney Ridge hosted Faith & Font training. A full Saturday immersed in learning about the catechumenal process that church engages in to form adults towards baptism and beyond. However, all flights were cancelled to Seattle for the snow. Instead I found myself at home, and so took the opportunity to finish work on my dissertation. I spent approximately four hours editing the introduction and first chapter according to the standards of Turabian. Spent most of the rest of the day with the family, but also, during some naps and in the evening after the children were in bed, finished reading two books, including one I'm reviewing for a journal (James Cone's The Cross and the Lynching Tree), and another we're using as the basis for our Lenten study (Dave and Jon Ferguson's Exponential: How You and Your Friends Can Start a Missional Church Movement). Also prayed through the church directory for all our members, and prayed for prayer requests from a Facebook thread.

Sunday: Three worship services, as presider and worship leader, while we hosted a guest preacher, Joe Liles, a mission developer in Bentonville. Cottage meetings at noon to listen to our congregation as they talked about their vision for mission for the Pastor of New Communities we are hoping to call. Home by 4 p.m., family time for the rest of the day. Wrote the review of James Cone's book that evening.

Monday: In at 8, caught up on office stuff, 9 a.m. conference call with some pastors all of whom are studying the Exponential book together. ELCA clergy from across the country, we formed the group as a side conversation on the ELCA Clergy Facebook page. Then some worship planning, time spent writing thank you notes to members of our congregation, then over to visit our 100 year old member who has recently gone on hospice care. Back to the office, printed dissertation material and took it to the post office, also started some sermon research. Somewhere in here I also wrote a blog post about the CEB.

Tuesday: Counseling/coaching sessions with folks at 8 and 10, visit to our Bears group in between, more worship planning (installation of council members, prep for a baptism class and baptism this Sunday), follow up phone calls, sorted a huge pile of books to start work on the next stage of the dissertation, and drafted a follow-up summary of the cottage meetings for our Wednesday e-blast. Home in the afternoon, then 6 p.m. bible study (Acts 19), 7-9 p.m. meeting with the call committee to summarize cottage meetings findings and plan next steps.

Wednesday: Morning at home, noon bible study (Acts 19 again), followed by a brief conversation about updating the front wall of our worship space, meeting at coffee shop at 1:30 p.m. pick up son from school, back to the coffee shop for a spiritual direction conversation, back to the church for final preps for my high school Augsburg Confession class, pre-baptism class at 5 p.m., 6 p.m. supper with our LOGOS group, 7 p.m. class with the high schoolers. Came home and cleaned the house in preparation for a birthday weekend for our soon-to-be one year old.

Thursday: Writing this blog post. Meeting to plan Lent and and our cultural change approach to leadership development and missional multiplication. Lunch with university students at Hog Haus. Finishing touches on sermon research and worship planning. Home for the afternoon. Evening church council meeting preceded by a finance committee meeting.

Friday and Saturday: Free days, family visiting for the big birthday.

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