Have you ever wondered what ministers do all day? Do they just run around hob-knobbing and drinking coffee? Do they just sit around and read books, newspapers, or websites all day? Well, it really depends on the week.
There are weeks that human needs take precedence and I become deeply involved with someone's crisis. Some of the people-time is more social. I may meet with people in the congregation or community for lunch or coffee. I sometimes do home visits to shut-ins or retirees or visit working people on an occasional evening. I don't blog too much about the specific people aspects of my ministry because so much is confidential.
My goal is to eventually have spent time with representatives of each of our family units outside the formal worship in either their home, my home, or at table fellowship. There is just a handful of people I haven't got to yet.
Upon arrival at the office this morning I unloaded several reams of paper I picked up at the office supply store yesterday. The first thing I do most mornings is turn on the computer and listen to any phone messages with pen and pad in hand. Once the pc is ready, I check my e-mail and I usually try to read some online news and blogs.
This particular morning I was then off to visit a hospitalized church member. Upon returning to the office I proof-read and did some last minute details on the church bulletin. I typed the first paragraph of this post and then it was off to lunch with a friend from church.
Having returned from lunch, I am printing the church bulletin while completing this post that I began this morning. Next I plan to spend a good amount of time working on this Sunday morning's class. I have been teaching on hell and judgment for the first two months of this quarter. I didn't really plan to spend a quarter in hell, but I keep making discoveries. Maybe I'll share some here in a few days.
The sermons this week are pretty much completed. I usually know what I'm preaching several months ahead which gives me time to do the exegetical work (i.e., Bible study and reading of secondary resources) over time in advance. The sermons are often written the week before they're preached, over several sittings throughout the week.
Some weeks are heavier on the study than others depending on the topic or text I'm studying. This week, for example, I spent a great deal of time on hell since I'm working to tie up some theological conclusions based on texts we've discussed over previous weeks and additional reading I've done since.
The day's plans could change at a moment's notice depending upon who calls or comes by and what they might need. I spend time throughout the day communicating with folks through e-mail and telephone. I am often here to meet electricians, plumbers, copier maintenance folks, or whatever service people we hire. The mail is checked at day's end when I sort it into the appropriate leader's box or into the recycling bin.
I typically manage to squeeze in a Power Point presentation for the sermon at some point during the week. This I accomplished yesterday. My prayer time is usually in the morning before all this begins. I'm usually reading about three or four books, which I often pick up at home during evenings and weekends.
Tomorrow (Saturday) morning I'll be familiarizing myself with the Sunday morning sermon so I can use the wireless mic and not spend most of the delivery time appearing as a talking head behind a giant piece of wood. I wish I could blog more, but I stay pretty busy with my "day job." Maybe next week I'll try to do multiple posts about hell. So stay tuned. It'll be interesting.