Several months ago I attended a conference for Senior Pastors. A session which particularly intrigued me challenged us to rethink our weekly schedule. The facilitator stated that Sunday is usually the end of the week for Senior Pastors. From all our interactions during the week and sermon preparation, after Sunday sermon (sometimes more than one sermon) and special programs, we are so exhausted that we take Monday off to recuperate and refresh. And Tuesday morning it starts all over again. We are on a never-ending merry-go-round. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
The facilitator said we should instead think of Sunday as the beginning of our week instead of the end of it. Tips were given to achieve this plan, including have a two day weekend instead of just taking Monday off.
I am always looking for better ways to do things, so I immediately decided to put this new schedule into practice. The conference was 3 days – Monday through Wednesday. I have friends in the city where the conference was held, so I spent Thursday, Friday, and part of Saturday with them, arriving home late Saturday night. Before I left for the conference, I had dusted off an old sermon and updated it because I knew I would have no time to spend on sermon preparation that week.
After a week out of the office, so to speak, I was refreshed on Sunday morning when I delivered my sermon. I had so much energy that afternoon that I took out my planner and for the first time ever, made detailed plans for the week ahead.
Monday morning I got to my office early and wrote the first draft of my sermon. That had never happened before. Usually, I’m thinking about a sermon all week and write out my sermon on Saturday morning. I couldn’t believe how good I felt. Only my secretary was in the church Monday and I had no interruptions because most other Senior Pastors were taking Monday off. And my parishioners didn’t expect me to be in my office. So I worked quickly and without distractions.
I continued with my other obligations Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. However, every morning I took out my sermon and worked on refining it before I did anything else. Thursday night I looked over my sermon one more time before declaring that my work week was over.
Fridays and Saturdays are my new weekend. I now have time to relax with friends. I have time to go shopping with my mother or just hang out with her. She recently remarked how much more confident I seemed since I wasn’t running around worrying about everything.
I am three months into my new schedule and I love it. I am more in control of my life and schedule. One of my assistants is on call Fridays and Saturdays for emergencies that may arise. The church runs smoothly. The congregation respects my time off. Because I take time to refresh and renew, I am excited to arrive at church on Sunday morning to begin my week.
And that is straight talk from the pulpit!
Read my story in Woman In The Pulpit to see what challenges I encountered during my first year as Senior Pastor of Hopewell Church.