A First Attempt at a Schedule

One of the first questions I had when I was called as a local church pastor was how to schedule my time. There are a lot of competing demands on a pastor’s time, from congregants demanding a pastor who is available and working 24-7, to other pastors telling you that good self-care requires two days off a week. How is a first time pastor supposed to do everything that needs to be done without burning out?

This is my first attempt at drafting a schedule that will work for me and for the congregation. There are just a few design considerations:

I wanted one reserved day off and the possibility of another one.

I wanted flex time that could absorb additions to the schedule, wither by being the space for those or by making a space for things that had to be moved.

I wanted a day to get worship in order at the beginning of the week. No Saturday night sermon panic for me!

So, without further ado, here it is:

Monday is mostly for worship preparation and sermon writing. The mornings are at home and the afternoons are in the office. Right now, evenings sometimes have committee meetings, but I’d like to move those so that Monday nights are free time.

Tuesdays are divided. Mornings are general work in the office. Afternoons are ‘variable’, so they can be used for visits, community office hours, or whatever else needs to happen. Right now, evenings sometimes have meetings on them. I’d like to move as many meetings to Tuesday evenings as I can.

Wednesdays are full days. Morning are reserved for flex time, so there’s a spot to take care of anything that had to get pushed off the beginning of the week. Afternoons are variable again. Evenings often have church activities.

Thursdays look a lot like Tuesdays. I’m in the office in the morning, and I hope to use that time to finish up worship prep. Afternoons are variable again. Evenings are for general work, but at home.

Fridays are my day off.

Saturdays are flex days. They can be used for events or for anything that had to be pushed off another part of the week. Saturday can also be used for a day off if there’s nothing pressing. Evenings are reserved, as much as possible, for rest and family.

Sundays start with worship at 9:30am sharp (though I’m in before that). Sometimes there are meetings after worship, and I can also use the time for visits and calls. Hopefully, I can finish up the day before it gets to late and have the evening for family time.

About This Blog: Being a Pastor

In an earlier post, I wrote about refocusing this blog on three topics: charity, fundraising and communications, and being a pastor. In this post, I’m taking a little time to talk about one of these foci: being a pastor.

As I wrote earlier, I’m taking on a new adventure as the pastor of First Congregational United Church of Christ in DeWitt, Iowa. I’ve been part of the United Church of Christ my whole life. I graduated from seminary more than a decade ago. I’ve worked and volunteered in the church — and in church-related organizations — for years. But this is my first time being the pastor for a congregation.

That means that I’m figuring some things out. What kinds of schedules work? How should I manage writing a sermon every week (and more during holiday weeks)? How can and should administration work in a congregationalist setting? And so on.

Part of what this blog is about is sharing my experiences being and becoming a pastor. I hope that this will give some insight into the life of your pastor, and I hope it will give some other pastors some ideas about what might work for them. I’m not going to pretend that I know everything — I’m barely going to pretend that I know anything — but I hope I can share what I’m learning and that my experience can be fruitful for others.