Lead, Care, Proclaim

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?

9 thoughts on “Lead, Care, Proclaim”

  1. I do the same: Lead, Care, Proclaim. I do not live in either of the communities were I preach, so I have a different plan. Mondays are my Day off. I use the “block” method for the rest of the week. Mornings, Afternoons, Evenings. I try to do church work in two of them each day. I often am in the communities where I serve for hospital calls, home visits etc, and I try to keep that as fair as I can – visiting in each church’s area. This also covers MILES. Never a dull moment being a preacher now is there!!

    1. Kathy, thanks for sharing your experience. Juggling the needs and demands of congregations in other communities adds another dimension to your work. I did that for almost a year, but with only one church! the block method is good. For those not familiar, you work 2 out of the 3 “blocks” in each day — either morning, afternoon, or evening. I did that especially when our girls were in school, spending some time with them in the afternoons if I had an evening meeting that day. Good plan, and thanks for sharing it with us.

  2. I’m so pleased to read this post. As a fairly new pastor (4 years) I still struggle with how to get it all done. Most of my study happens in short bursts throughout the week with the major portion of actual sermon prep happening on Friday & Saturday at home.

    1. Tim, the reality of our schedules often does not match the best plans we have, especially in ministry. Actually, on study time, I do much the same — short periods and the actual writing or finalizing on Friday or Saturday. Makes for some interesting Saturday nights, if I’m not careful! Thanks for your comment!

  3. I would add a fourth key word – reproduce. Anything that is living will reproduce. Jesus said “A student is not greater than his teacher but when he is fully trained he will be like him.” Luke 6:40 The goal of proclaiming or teaching is for students to be “fully trained” so that he will be “like him”, not perpetually dependent, forever needing a sermon every week until death. Teaching that does not “fully train” may not be teaching at all. Paul instructed Timothy to “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. The things you heard from me entrust to faithful men who will teach others also.” 2Tim. 2;2 Wow, four generations of reproduction. That is a lot cheaper than seminary and a mentoring dynamic most of them wish they could do.

    One need not visit every church in the country but probably 95% of pastors will not fully reproduce into even one man in their fellowship. When they leave, 5 – 20 years later, no men can do what they do so another is hired in to do everything the man before did. Why? One reason – it’s thepastor’s livelihood. They don’t want to give away their paycheck. I minister free of charge 1Cor 9; meeting my own needs Acts 20; following the example Paul gave for us to follow 2Thes. 3. I can and am accomplishing, with God’s amazing provision, fully reproducing shepherding into other men. Refusing the right to be paid as Paul taught and exemplified is not popular but it is there, has its fruitfulness and has it’s freedoms and rewards – 1Cor. 9 that come no other way. Now not only what I say but everything I do is an example, teaching others to “set their hearts on the work of oversight” 1Tim. 3:1. Not that’s a “trustworthy statement”.

    With this kind of shepherding, it is always a mutual, intimate relationship with every believer, just like the Chief Shepherd maintains. He never shepherds one to a crowd. It’s always heart to heart, two-way communication.

    Anyone interested in the eternal rewards offered for ministering free of charge? 1 Cor. 9:15-27. If anyone is interested I have a sermon outline brewing on this strategic chapter regarding the economics of ministry.

    1. Tim, your experience is intriguing. You need to blog about your approach to ministry, and all the things you mention in your quote. In addition, Frank Viola would love to hear about what you’re doing. Frank wrote Pagan Christianity (I think that’s the title) and he’s big on non-paid ministry. Thanks for sharing, and let me know if you start your own blog. I’ll add you to my feedreader.

  4. As a bivocational pastor things are a bit different for me. Years ago I was able to keep a similar schedule as you described and I took another preacher’s advice and “dug deep wells” during that time. It has paid off as Saturday is the only day I have a considerable block of time available to prepare. Not that I don’t do anything during the week–it’s just that the time restraints are large. But thanks to the studies I did back in the earlier time, I have a wealth of material to draw from and that really makes life easier.

    Terry Reed

    1. Terry, good advice on digging “deep wells” when you have the time. I had not heard that phrase before, but it’s a good one. I heard one pastor call it “preaching from the overflow” but I think he had a similar idea in mind. Thanks for your comment and offering us some good advice.

  5. Hi!

    Thank you very much for these encouraging insights and enlightening sermons.
    i am pastoring a very small church (Kias united Methodist Church, Baguio City, Philippines). I am a lay minister but i was sent there to take over the group where another lay pastor pastored it for ten years. There were 16 members in June 6, 2010 and i am blessed to have an additional 25 small children (OMG!!)…on pro bono, too…ministering free of charge as they are still learning to give and most of them are below poverty level…i do on the side a few real estate sales advertising online then wait on God’s awesome provisions. Still, i am very limited and i often cry for i am told i am very good in organizing projects 9did a medical mission in Sept 4, 2010) and ministered to 254 patients and i am invited to speak this 4pm at the local elections, and am organizing another livelihood for women next month…..

    HOPE you could help me with the PRIMARY glaring problem: how do i get these recipients/people to warm the pews on Sundays, kneel in prayer with me on Wednesday nights and Thursday at 5am?

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