People often ask me what I do all week. They know what I do Sunday, but they’re always politely curious about how I earn my keep Monday through Friday.
I’ve mentioned previously that there are 37 core competencies for pastors. Few of these skills are taught in seminaries. Most are learned by staying enrolled in the school of hard knocks. We never know which of those core competencies will be required of us on a given day, or in any given week.
Here is an overview of what I did this past week. Not every week looks like this—that’s my point—but most weeks bounce from thing-to-thing-to-thing at a moment’s notice, with little time for adjustment.
Sunday, I preached at 4 services, translating a 6th century document about monastic living into 21st century web content about Christian living. I presented a “state of affairs” at our Owners’ meeting, focusing on retention, development, deployment and led a deacon meeting.
(But you already knew that).
I spent focused time in prayer, discerning God’s will and continued vision for our church. I counseled an underemployed father who needed vocational training and couldn’t wait for an appointment. I prayed over the phone with a man grieving the loss of his friend. I offered biblical counsel to a mother troubled about her son’s poor choices, and spent time creating solutions for sobriety with a member of Alcoholics Anonymous.
I met with two troubled Windies, concerned for the future of our church, and offered perspective on our leadership process and decision-making matrix. I lead Sandbox, our weekly staff meeting, and presented on “Recovering your passion in the face of adversity.” I coordinated deacon teams to provide care for our owners and enlisted two new deacons. I also met with key staff about top-level projects for the summer and conducted a funeral for a family in Michigan Center.
I spent time refining and crystalizing Westwinds’ vision for where we want to go and how we want to get there, by 2020, restructuring our big goals into smaller, measurable goals for the upcoming year. I also refined our financial and numerical projections for 2014-2015, finalized the Hivemind calendar for 2014-2015, and developed a new administrative system for our office staff, soon to be implemented by the team at Westwinds (to help solve the problem of lost-information).
I mourned the loss of a staff member (not deceased, just moving on), and immediately began the search for a new staff member, gladdened that the outgoing staffer is in a healthy space and will continue attending and ministering at Westwinds.
I also did some brain work this week, concluding a seven-year research project on a sub-genre of biblical theology, and then crafted six diagrams on City Theology for The Garden-City Epistles, our series for August. I wrote two articles on leadership and two additional articles on ministry in the postmodern age for Fossores.com. I prepared the final sermon from the Church Survival Guide on “How to be a Christian without wishing you could start a new religion”, began work (with Laurel) on 101 Things to Say Before The Offering, a resource for pastors and stage-leaders, and began work on 365 Daily Readings of Scripture, for devotions, with Amy—our Easter 2015 gift to newbies.
I met, individually, with five Jackson artists to provide direction on our upcoming Halloween initiative (a prompt for prayer) and strategized with Jvo about gaining critical mass at HQ and the Brew Cue (our two additional campuses). I also met with Del and Paul about HQ and the 2 major initiatives launching there this Fall (Kidternships and the revamped Kids’ Ministry), then gave advice to a young pastor who wants to lead a church “like Westwinds”, reminding him that he’s not called to do anything other than what God has placed within his heart.
I counseled a young mother on her spiritual gifts, prayed with a sick parishioner worried about her health, planned my upcoming presentations at conferences this summer, arranged for my travels to two leadership gatherings this fall, spent time in one-on-one spiritual coaching with a local businessman, lead a former marine through the process of getting baptized, had lunch with a theater professor and learned about the crafts of oratory from a different tradition, conducted premarital counseling with a young couple preparing for life after college, and made arrangements for a friend to be baptized on the one-year anniversary of her commitment to Christ.
Now, if you asked me the question “What did you do this week?”, I confess I probably wouldn’t be able to remember the specifics. I wrote them down expressly for the purpose of writing this post, since no one ever seems to believe me when I say “all sorts of stuff.” But the truth is that pastors, on a weekly basis, confront sin, challenge apathy, provide comfort, supply instruction, sharpen understanding, bolster faith, celebrate wisdom, reinforce virtue, strengthen families, and sacrifice themselves for others.
And the most important thing to remember is that we do this because Christ has called us to do it, and because we enjoy what we do.
We choose to serve you, and love it.