Thursday, January 10, 2013

A week in the life of a pastor | Gangnam Style

Sunday- Back in the saddle after a week of family vacation, preached this sermon for Epiphany worship. Then in the evening, helped host an Epiphany Party for our catechumens and potential sponsors. Hors d'oeuvres and hospitality organized by our planning team, led the group in a service of Evening Vespers and practice the Rite of Welcome for the following Sunday. Was caught by surprise by the many new people who came out, so realized I would have to focus much of the week linking sponsors to catechumens to be ready for the following Sunday. Spent much of the afternoon building forts and having an epic Nerf gun and Nerf disc battle in our house. Went on a run. Interviewed Mark Huber of Sanctuary in Marshfield, MA, late that evening, around 10 p.m.

Monday- Morning staff meeting reviewing calendar from now until Easter. Lots of good check in conversations after some time away. Sat with the Spit and Shine group after they had done a run to Home Depot to pick up supplies. This men's ministry, made up primarily of retirees in our congregation, does various kinds of upkeep and repair around our church. Spent almost the whole rest of the day designing the Rite of Welcome, calling potential sponsors, and doing a pre-marital counseling session with a couple. Multiple care conversations by phone with people who are sick, grieving, struggling. Also spent time setting up home visits and lunch meetings for the following few weeks.

Tuesday- More work on our catechumenal process, wrote content for our weekly e-blast, spent some time showing family pictures and seeing family pictures from the many participants in our Bears ministry, a group of folks who make bears for children in our area children's hospitals. Lunch with a member that included deep and important conversation about faith and life. Finally finished reading Jean-Luc Marion's Being Given. Reviewing material to teach Wednesday bible study on Wisdom literature, and Wednesday evening session with high schoolers and parents on the Nooma video series.

Wednesday- Mornings with the youngest, ferried various children to elementary and preschool, then went to the public library and the gym. Noon bible study, did an introduction to Wisdom literature (especially Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, and Job), more work contacting sponsors, plus some catechumens who had missed the Sunday practice session. Multiple conversations today about our year of reading the bible, and how much joy people are getting out of it, and how many of our people are reading the bible for the first time! Spent time in the Alton Center with our sound guy and a lighting/audio tech imagining how to improve our audio and lighting in that space. Afternoon play date with the boys, the back for Logos and the Nooma class. After class, went over to the coffee shop (about 8:30 p.m.) to meet with our growing and energetic 20-somethings group.

Thursday- Thursday is typically my wrap up day before Sunday. As much as possible I finalize everything for Sunday worship so I can take Friday as my Sabbath, and Saturday with family and doing all kinds of Saturday things. Stopped in the office in the morning, wrote the Prayers of the Church, made final contacts for sponsors for our catechumens, read through the notes from Sunday worship, congregation having responded to the question, "What do you need for the journey of faith?" Started working to put these responses into a summary document. Then headed home to host a play date for our daughter, and clean the house a bit. Lunch at Firehouse Subs with our Strategic Planning Study Team, then time at Mama Carmen's reading the bible lessons for our Read the Bible in One Year process, catching up on e-mail. Finally, I did another Skype interview, this time with Pastor of New Communities Ben Cieslik of Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. You can view that interview here.

Friday- If all goes according to plan, I won't work today. During naps I might do some freelance writing. Hope to watch at least one episode of Dr. Who, maybe go to a movie, work out

Saturday- Pre-baptismal meeting with a family, 8 a.m. for an infant of the congregation. Random family events around town. Start reading two books I'll be reviewing soon, Gary Dorrien's Kantian Reason and Hegelian Spirit and Paul Chung's The Hermeneutical Self.


  1. Stupid question - I didn't see sermon prep in here. When do you do it? Or does it grow organically out of all the other stuff?

  2. Not a stupid question at all. I read the gospel over and over throughout the week (or whichever text is my primary sermon text). I read a lot of other stuff interspersed throughout the week. I have a bunch of pieces, like Legos, in hand for Sunday morning. But the actual assembly doesn't happen until I actually preach it, so I have no need to carve out a big block of time mid-week for sermon prep.