Pastors do not punch a clock like those in an office or a factory. A pastor can work as much or as little as he chooses. He could arise late in the morning and during the day accomplish very little or he could be up early and work hard into the night. Most people will never know the schedule of the preacher. Though there is no requirement of working a set number of hours most men of God whom I have met work much longer than a forty hour week and often for less pay than the average person in their community. But there are some ministries where a pastor could be either lazy or he doesn’t know how to use his time effectively. It is imperative that every preacher work hard and use his time wisely because the Lord’s work is the most important work in the world.
Every day in the life of a successful pastor can be very diverse. Being able to govern change and adapt to emergencies is a necessary part of the ministry. Though every day can be quite different there are some things that are constant:
1. Get up. Depending on the time you retire and go to sleep you should systematically get up at the same time in the morning. Everyone cannot live with four or five hours of sleep but you need to know yourself well enough that you get the proper amount of sleep and no more. You can’t win souls while in bed so you need to get up.
2. Meet with God. You may shower or exercise in the morning but the first priority of the day is to read your Bible and pray. Having pastored for many years I understand that there are times you receive an emergency call early in the morning and on those occasions you have to find time later in the day or later in the evening to meet with God. But don’t leave God out of any day.
3. Perform your responsibilities. Answer mail – respond to missed calls – prepare for messages – follow your calendar – be on time. Don’t waste time on your phone or the internet. You only have twenty-four hours in a day.
4. Be ready to be a witness when the opportunity arises. “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” 1 Peter 3:15. Many of the best opportunities to witness are during the regular course of duties.
5. Eat a well-balanced and healthy diet. One of the most difficult things for a preacher to do is to follow a regular plan for eating meals. As a young preacher your diet may seem unimportant but when you have a heart attack or diabetes you will realize your health is critical to be effective in the ministry.
6. Adjust to changes of plans. Being flexible is a necessity for every preacher. Many issues arise every day that were unplanned but important to address. Being able to determine which matters to address immediately and which ones that can wait is part of the education of a young preacher.
7. Do two things at once. Running errands can require a significant amount of time. When you run errands plan several things at once. If you need to go to the post office also plan to get supplies at the local hardware store and perhaps get your haircut at the same time. Keep with you a pad of paper or your phone to jot down all the things you need to accomplish for the day. When they are completed mark them off of your list.
8. Meet with people. People are the reason you are in the ministry. Reaching out to weekly visitors and locating new contacts is the most important priority. The office and even the study are secondary to people. Often you can visit people at work during the day or make arrangements to meet them early in the morning or during their lunch hour. Your contact with them is the greatest key to building the church.
9. Don’t neglect your family especially your children. Spend some time with them by taking them with you as you run errands or take your wife with you when visiting and stop for lunch. Include them in the ministry.
What is a day like in the life of a pastor? It is difficult to define but it requires hard work and dedication. The pastor’s life is not conducive for men who are lazy or distracted; it is for men who are determined and committed to God.