I have often described pastoral ministry as this joyful burden of being able to spend so much time doing such fruitful things, yet never getting close to completing all that needs to be done. I recently received an email from a pastor struggling with his schedule who asked me how I arranged my weekly schedule. Just because I schedule my week this way, doesn’t mean you should. Hopefully, the following will provide a template for you to think through your own schedule. Here are the main bullet points of how I prioritize my week:
Prepare to preach/teach. Regardless what is happening in our family and church, Sunday still comes 6 days later. We must first prioritize having adequate time to study to prepare for our responsibilities to preach and teach for the upcoming week.
Schedule “essential meetings” with people. These are the meetings that must take place this next week. For example: setting aside time to pray for your people, service planning, staff meeting, a marriage in crisis, hospital visitation, etc. Your wife and other pastor/elders are your best resource to help you determine what meetings are actually “essential.”
Fill in the gaps. If you are like me, then after these first two are in my schedule, there are only a few other pockets of time to schedule other discipleship meetings, time for administration, writing projects, counseling, fellowship with other pastors, and continuing the systematic process to visit and care for widows and other church members.
I feel the burden of my failures every week without exception to meet all the needs that need to be met and accomplish all that needs to be accomplished. Yet in God’s kind design of our calling, these failures give us an edge that we all need that make us strive to be better, more faithful pastors. It also reminds us of our need to depend upon God alone as we labor in this fine work and that our worth is not in what we do or accomplish, but in our identity in Christ.