Sunday, March 18, 2007

Pastors and Working Time

John recently linked to this article (via this post) about the recent study on how pastors use their time and how much time pastors spend working. Of course, a common joke is that pastors work only one hour a week - the worship hour on Sunday morning - but most(!) people know pastors work more than that. But how much more? And what exactly are they doing during that time?

Interesting questions, even for those of us who are pastors. What are we doing with all our time? I usually don't keep specific track of my hours in a week, but I do occasionally do a tally just to see how and when I am actually spending my time. I would say my weeks aren't very consistent from week to week. Some weeks I spend more time on worship than others, some weeks I seem to be frequently at the hospital, some weeks it seems all my annual conference responsibilities are scheduled in one five-day stretch. I suspect that this is typical for many pastors.

How do you who are pastors spend your time? Do you match up with the study? Personally, I am a real night owl. I like the flexibility my schedule generally gives me, actually. Since I am single, and I am also a solo pastor with a fairly small church staff, I have a great deal of control over when, where, and on what I work, which is something I treasure. Sure, I have appointments and meetings and worship services that are at appointed times, but for other work, I definitely get rolling in the afternoon and probably do my best sermon work after 11pm.

What I found most interesting in the study were differences reported between how male and female clergy spend their time (women spend more time in administration and pastoral care, men spend more time planning worship), between how Catholic priests and Protestant clergy spend time (priests work longer weeks and spend more time working administratively), between African-American clergy and other clergy (African-American clergy work much longer weeks), and between 'conservative' clergy and 'mainline' clergy ('conservative' clergy spend more time in prayer and meditation, and less time in meetings). The study doesn't suggest reasons for these differences, and I'm not really sure what I would suggest for these differences. Thoughts?
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