I wish I knew how many times children come to me between classes and worship or after worship and ask, “Where do you work?”
I love the puzzled look on their faces, when I say, “Here.”
Their reply is often, “No, I mean the rest of the week!”
Again, I answer, “Here. I work here at the church building.”
I understand their curiosity. They are learning about the world, and want to know what adults do all day. Occasionally, well more than occasionally, adults will ask preachers similar questions. The conversation usually starts like this, “I have always wanted to ask a preacher this question; ‘What do you do during the week?'”
The short answer is, “I get ready for Wednesday and Sunday, they tend to come around every week.” But there is more to the answer than those few words, so I am about to let you in on the life of a preacher. This is not a complaint – I LOVE what I do or I would not do it. There are vocations that are a lot more stressful than preaching and there are vocations that are less stressful. There are more demanding professions and less demanding professions. This is simply an answer to a question people often ask. This is my schedule, other ministers may do things differently.
Some of the older books in my library.
Monday morning is sermon planning, studying, and writing day. When I arrive at my study at 8:00 I write a message for this blog, usually something that I have been thinking about as I commute. Then after making a To Do List for the week, I dive in to the Sunday morning sermon. I already have a plan for titles or Scriptures I am preaching through the end of the year, but the specifics of the lesson are still a work in progress. I begin the day reading the passage(s) that relate to the Sunday morning sermon. I will jot down my reflections, lessons, observations, and such that I see in the text. I try to see what the author was saying and what his original audience was to learn. Then I will research in books and online to see what others think about this passage. This includes any work related to word studies or understandings from the original language of the text. After lunch I break from the morning sermon to work on Wednesday Bible class (the process is much the same). The rest of the afternoon I reply to read extra material mail, email, make phone calls, or visits. I leave the study at about 3:00. Monday evenings for me are regular meetings with the elders as we work together to strengthen the local congregation of God’s people.
Tuesday morning after arriving at about 8:00, I will again write for the Morning Drive. Then it is back to Sunday morning’s sermon. By 10:00 a.m., I want to have the final outline on my computer and in the App I preach from (Olive Tree for iPad). Then I move on to Sunday evening’s sermon. At Central, the evening lesson is about 10 to 15 minutes long. We have a 30 minute worship assembly then fellowship with each other or break into small groups to discuss the lessons and spend time in prayer. Most of the time this shorter sermon is material that reinforces the Sunday morning lesson. After lunch I will then finalize class for Wednesday including any hand-outs and PowerPoint (KeyNote, HaikuDeck, or Prezi). Again the afternoon is for mail, email, calls, and visiting.
Wednesday is different for me. because I currently commute an hour to my study, I do not come to the building on Wednesday until that evening. I will take time at home to go the the study I have at the house and review my material for Wednesday class and the sermons in progress. Of course, I am on-call and available for those that need to talk, study, or would like to pray with me. We arrive at Central early and share a brown-bag meal with others who arrive early.
What I looked like as I was writing this blog this morning.
Thursday is back to the routine. Arriving at 8:00 I will write this blog, if I have an idea for a post, and then get back to the sermons. Thursday I will create any Prezi, PowerPoint, or HaikuDeck I need for the Sunday morning sermon. Then I will create a Live Event for YouVersion – this is simply an electronic version of the outline handouts preachers prepare. I will also finalize Sunday evening’s sermon. After lunch, I will research, study, and write lessons for the Sunday morning Bible Class I teach. The rest of the afternoon is for communication and visiting.
Friday morning I again arrive at 8:00, This day is for making certain I am ready for Sunday. I will study over all lessons make any corrections, and then practice preaching them to myself – not in the auditorium, but sitting at a desk, I read through them imagining myself standing before the congregation. I also review Sunday morning Bible Class. Every week I try to take time to make a video about the coming Sunday. This one minute video is something members can share with friends on social media as a way to invite them to be with us as we worship God. After lunch, I get my study ready for Monday and the lessons I will work on the following week.
Friday evening and Saturday are family days and often youth or church-wide events.
Sundays are classes, worship, and fellowship like all other Christians, except I get to talk during the sermon time ;-).
That is it, that is what I do. Now you know.