What we do is a lifestyle - a rather unique lifestyle, and I feel like I'm still trying to figure out how to gracefully juggle the life we live. It is ever-changing according to present needs, and flexibility while maintaining a routine for my children is a real challenge.
So... the title of my post: A Preacher's Work Is Never Done
Here are some of the jobs a preacher often does:
What you would expect:
- Preparing and preaching sermons
- Preparing and teaching Bible classes for Sunday and Wednesday assemblies
- Writing and editing the weekly bulletin or newsletter
- Home bible studies with members, community contacts, etc...
- Writing and organizing class material
- Changing the message on the sign
- Answering phone calls and e-mails
- If there are elders, meeting with them
- Business meetings - there is preparation involved here too
- Attending gospel meetings and singings
- Preaching away from the congregation for special meetings
- Attending all weddings, funerals, parties, etc... for all members of the congregation
- Sometimes preaching for weddings and funerals
- Researching, designing and submitting advertising
- Maintaining the church website
- Counseling upon request
- Initiating difficult conversations - confronting people about problems
- Visiting folks who are home bound or in prison
- Personal study and research
- Taking food and a Bible to a needy person who calls asking for it
- Turning down the 90% of calls to people who are just asking for money - our standard answer is, "We do not have a fund for that, but we would love to pray for you or help you with your spiritual needs." We get a call about once a week. Sometimes more when rent comes due. We have had people come to our door before. Once about 2 days after we brought our baby home from the hospital. Preacher man left to get the man a hotel room because it was snowing, and I fixed him some food.
- The church line is a business line. We get LOTS of calls from telemarketers.
- Spending hours with the shop vac in the church basement because it flooded... again
- Cleaning the building and restocking supplies because someone forgot... again
- Shoveling snow... mowing grass... raking leaves
- Meeting with repair men... after all, Preacher Man is always home (except that he's not!)
- Trying to help with odd requests - I'll let you use your imagination... there are some odd ones, believe me!
- Dealing with the mentally ill - some wander in during a service, some call repeatedly... the lady who called herself "The Prophetess" was a particularly interesting one. We try to show compassion, but sometimes, we have to set some boundaries.
- Attending sporting events and games of some of the member's children to show support
- Attending community events - good for getting out and meeting new contacts
- Basically, being on call 24/7. Yes, we have answered phone calls for the church at 3 a.m. on multiple occasions. Even on vacation, we are "on call". Preachers do not have holidays in the sense that they have a day free of their duties. A "day off" is a rather foreign concept now.
Show your local Preacher Man some love and appreciation tomorrow! I'm sure he works very hard, and a little appreciation beyond, "good sermon" means so much!