Question: What exactly do you do?
Most parishioners see their clergy for two hours once a week. What is it that we do with the rest of our week? What do pastors do when they aren’t in the pulpit? What do deacons do when they’re not setting the Altar?
As one person asked me, “What is ‘work’ for you?”
I’ve gotten this question from a lot of people — but strangely never any members of my own parish. It’s almost as though folks are nervous to ask their own pastors but really, really want to know.
Before we dive in, though, some caveats:
- Every pastor or deacon will have a different answer based on areas of expertise, theological perspective, and setting. Someone called to youth and family ministry will answer differently from a solo pastor who will answer differently from someone on a synod/diocesan staff. An Episcopal priest will have a different answer from a United Methodist elder. A priest serving in downtown Manhattan will divide their time differently from the pastor serving three churches in rural South Dakota.
- I serve a part-time call. This necessitates that I delegate more work than a full-time pastor or deacon.
- I’ve been at this for just about a year now. I bet I’ll have a different answer in a year and in five years and in a decade and when I retire. Or at least, I’ll probably have different wording.
So, what is it that I do when I’m not in the pulpit?
Short Answer: “Additional Duties as Required”