A Week in the Life of a Pastor
Most pastors are doing their best to maximize their time for the Lord. Statistics show that 75% of churches have less than one hundred in attendance, and few pastors have a paid staff member. With that in mind, there should always be an evaluation made of our week and our day to see if we are accomplishing our goals. While every pastor is different because every “flock” and “field” is unique, there are some things that remain constant. The common denominator for all pastors is summed up in the familiar phrase, “Sunday’s coming!” All pastors face the continual and constant deadline to be ready with fresh spiritual food for the flock over which the Holy Ghost hath made them overseers.
Pastors have all kinds of responsibilities throughout the week. Depending on the size of their church, in any given week, a pastor may be a janitor, plumber, yardman, counselor, painter, and a host of other trades. While all of those “needs” may arise at times, the ONE BIG THING that a pastor MUST do out of all of the many things that he NEEDS to do is found in Acts 6:4.
“But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.”
Nothing is more important than the time a pastor will devote to prayer and the ministry of the Word of God! Each pastor is different concerning the time it takes to prepare a sermon, but that is by far where the bulk of time should be spent.
How can we accomplish all that God has for us and be good stewards of our time on a weekly basis? These are in no particular order, but I pray they will be a blessing to you as you seek to be a good steward of the time that God has given you.
1. Get a good start to the workweek
Whether you take a day off on Monday or some other day of the week, use Sunday night after church or Monday morning to ponder the week ahead, and lay out a plan of attack. Oftentimes, emergencies will arise and you will get off schedule from what you had planned, but it helps to have a guide throughout the week. “He who fails to plan, plans to fail!”
2. Use a calendar or planner
Find something that works for you and use it! You may find that an iPad works best. You may prefer the calendar on your computer. I have found over the years that I simply cannot beat an old-fashioned day planner where I write with a physical pen on paper.
Write out things that must be done on a daily basis and then prioritize them. You will be surprised how much you can get done and how efficient you will be when you schedule every 30 minutes of your day.
Continually review your week and your month ahead so nothing sneaks up on you.
Some of the items on your daily agenda will be things such as: staff meetings, weekly planning, sermon preparation, correspondence, hospital visits, follow up visits, phone calls, administrative work…
3. Make use of the “One Touch” Rule
This is defined as completely processing a task the first time you touch it. If you can’t complete the task, don’t touch it! This applies mostly to administrative and office tasks. If you don’t have time to answer letters and sort bills, don’t open them and look through them. It’s a waste of your time when you will have to come back to it. You can work much more efficient if you focus on completing a task instead of having multiple “irons in the fire”.
4. Prioritize Family
Remember that your first ministry is to the family that God has blessed you with! Spend time with your wife and children. Spend time with them that is not taken up with ministry involvement. There will be times to include them in ministry but have time where you are fully devoted to them—and do not feel guilty about investing in them!
5. Maximize your mornings
I have found that my mind is at its best in the morning. Of course, a good cup of coffee always helps this! When you start with your sermon preparation in the morning, you get ahead of all other things that will cross your desk as the day goes by. The emails will start hitting your inbox, the phone will start vibrating with messages, but before all of that takes place, get a jump on your ONE BIG THING.
6. Prayerfully plan your preaching
Sometimes a large part of sermon preparation is praying about what to preach. Instead of praying what to preach week to week, I would challenge you to use the same time to pray about a Book of the Bible to preach or a series of messages. God is fully capable of leading you to preach what He wants for His people weeks in advance better than you can week to week! There will always be times and needs that arise that might take you away from a series of messages, but time will be well spent on the actual sermon when you already have a direction from the Holy Spirit.
A pastor’s week is ever-changing and constantly challenging. Because of that, we should do our best to add consistency where we can and be good stewards of what God has given us, remembering that we are to be “redeeming the time…”
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Jason Atwood grew up in the Corpus Christi, Texas area, and in November 2006, Pastor Atwood was called to be the first pastor of Heritage Baptist Church of Corpus Christi. The church was meeting in a small one-bedroom house. God blessed, and they moved to a new 5-acre site to allow continued growth. In 2019, God led Pastor Atwood to join our staff. He is a tremendous help to Pastor Trieber in both the church and the college ministry. He is married to Aimee, and they have three boys — Will, Connor, and Jack.