Love that we are getting a female perspective here at RP and love even more that my Twitter friend Emily Case is contributing. You can read other Rookie Pastor Work Flows here, and if you are interested in contributing let me know.
The toughest part of the workflow for me is that at the end of every day, every month, every year the list of “undone” seems bigger than the list of done. I try to make to-do lists. I try to put things on my calendar. But, the more I try to plan my days, weeks, minutes, hours—the more behind I get. The more experienced clergy tell us not to worry about it, and I’m working on that. But its not easy.
So, do I have a typical workflow?—sure, but it never works as smoothly as it seems!
On Sundays, I help lead services in the morning and I visit/run youth, children’s, and college ministries in the evening. I get in the office early Monday morning to do paperwork, catch up with the staff, go to meetings, visits, and wave to the preschool before a 1:00 pm Jazzercize class. I try to take the afternoon to rest and run errands and am usually back in the office by 5 for an evening meeting. Tuesdays-Thursdays I do other things—newsletter articles, meetings, write sermons, pray, lead Bible Studies, do administrative work, pray, hospital visits, college campus visits, and more. I also try to take one of those days off. Fridays, my senior pastor is off, so I normally go to Jazzercize early, then the hospital, to be ready for college/young adult ministry by 3:30. I try to always have Friday nights off. Saturday mornings vary, but by 2 pm we are setting up for our Saturday night service. We are done, cleaned up and off to post-service dinner by about 8:30 pm. Then it starts all over again!
I have found that if I am in the office I won’t get anything real done, so I do my writing at Starbucks. I have found that the office doesn’t flow well if I’m not physically in the office for at least two blocks three hour blocks each week. I have found that if I don’t exercise five times a week my mental, physical, and emotional health suffers. Jazzercize works best for me because it’s an hour where no one can find me and all I can think about is which leg to move next. All of this is hard for me. I’m on the go a lot—appointments off site at weird times—hospital visits—college chaplaincy, etc. But I make time for it, because I know they are important things.
I put off physically writing my sermons, doing expense reports, and anything I can convince myself is non-important. To my chagrin, I also put off hand-writing notes more than I’d like. I like to do sermon and Bible Study prep first thing Monday morning. Appointments with visitors and hospital visits are also top priority.
I wish I could figure out how to give more of my administrative things away. But at the end of the day it takes longer to explain things than do them myself. I also wish I had a driver (I could get a lot done on a laptop in the car! In my dreams at least!) I have also found myself in charge of our social media/communications pushes, and I wish I could find someone to do that. Last, I have great ideas that I just need people to implement—new classes, mission trips, etc—but there is never the time to do it all!
I don’t know how ministers did anything without computers. Without Planning Center to weekly plan four different styles of worship and emails to communicate and text messages to find people and twitter to complain about it all, I could do nothing. Everything I do involves somehow my computer or smart phone. I would be lost without them.
In the end, I’ve learned to be flexible. To love people and give them my attention. To set goals each week and accomplish at least one of them. To make myself accountable to my support staff to take my day off each week. To pray every chance I get. And somehow it all gets done. Even blog posts!
Rev. Emily Case is the Associate Pastor at Kennesaw United Methodist (www.kennesawumc.org–if you wanna link) just outside Atlanta Georgia. She leads the unconventional Revive Worship Service (www.worshipatrevive.org) and tweets at @pastoremj. Believing that the God’s light can shine in the darkest places she is sure that if we love God and love people, that everything else is just details. She spends her free time talking to and giggling with strangers and friends at Starbucks. She’s simply a single girl trying to love and pray her way through life.