Years ago, LifeWay’s focus on pastoral ministry was contained in three words — lead, care, proclaim. Lead included church administration with its committee meetings, planning sessions, and member training. Care involved pastoral care of the congregation, and the pastor’s training of and relationship with caregivers such as deacons. Proclaim covered the pastor’s preaching and teaching ministry both at Sunday morning worship, and in smaller group settings such as Wednesday Bible study.
To support these tasks, LifeWay (then called The Baptist Sunday School Board) produced periodicals like Church Administration and Proclaim magazine. I don’t recall a pastoral care magazine, but maybe there was one. My point is these three words summed up the pastor’s work then. I still find myself involved in these same areas — leading, caring, and proclaiming.
My week seems to be spent in sermon preparation, pastoral care ministry, and administrative matters. I try to keep a balance of spending an equal amount of time on each. My office hours are 9 AM to 12 noon Monday through Thursday (I take Fridays off). I usually spend my office time on the phone, chatting with folks who drop by the office, or working on administrative projects. That’s my leading time, although leadership happens all the time and in casual settings, too.
Most of my care ministry takes place in the afternoons when I visit the hospitals, nursing and rehab centers, and our members at home. I can make most of my pastoral care visits in the afternoons, but in other churches I served those took at least two evenings a week. Evening visits now are usually with prospective members, most of whom have daytime jobs.
In the proclaim area, I do most of my sermon preparation and study at home, but that wasn’t the case when our kids were small. Changing life circumstances meaning changing our work, study, and leisure routines as well.
I think LifeWay captured the small church pastor’s ministry well in those three words — lead, care, proclaim. That’s still what I’m about, and I imagine you are, too. What does your ministry routine involve and how do you allocate your time?