How many of us preachers feel overworked, stressed out? (I have never complained about being underpaid, though some colleagues are. In fact, I often say, “You can’t pay me enough for what I do, but I’m not complaining, because this pastoring business is more than a job; it’s a vocatio.”)
What I am talking about are the many overlapping and separate things pastors do these days; you know the list. One almost has to know what Attention Deficit Disorder is in order to function well in the ministry. In fact, one good friend of mine has come to see his former ADD as ASV—Attention Surplus Virtue. He knows how God can use our weaknesses and turn them to strengths. Thanks, Paul Berkenbosch!
Multi-tasking is one thing, though, while sheer overwork without relief or understanding from supervisors and congregation is quite another. So, check out this article that appeared on-line on November 13, 2010 about bumps in the road in the pastor’s vocatio and job. Frankly, when I read the average pastor’s work week was 51 hours, I thought, “Hmmm. Short week!”
What do you—pastors or laypersons—think and do about your own or your pastor’s stress, overwork, time management, rest, days off, “lieu time”? To be concrete: I recently ran a stretch in which I was unable to take a full day off for four weeks. I grabbed hours here and there by going to the gym, rollerblading, changing the oil, writing blogs (!!) and dining out or cooking with Rose. But because of three deaths and funerals, significant illnesses within the congregation, plus preaching and meetings, there were no complete days off for four weeks. That is, no day off until yesterday, when Rose and I drove to Ottawa, listened to Johnny Cash, CBC, Anne Murray. We even talked occasionally! And today I will go to the Museum of Science and Technology with my daughter and granddaughter and later out for supper and some Christmas shopping.
I slept well last night and am feeling like I can hardly wait for tomorrow when we head to Barrie so I can preach at a friend’s installation service Sunday. Energized, eager, despite lots of hours, but not over-stressed when one is surrounded by trusted family, friends, fellow office bearers and congregation members.