Things to Not Do: One Pastor’s List

I’m thinking about what it means to cease working, in preparation for a sermon on Sabbath-keeping.

Yesterday I had lunch with someone whose agenda was to discern whether I’m doing adequate “self-care” in ministry. (Ah, isn’t that the topic of work and rest, or Sabbath?)

We began with a little conversation about how my church is doing. She was surprised to hear that it’s thriving –nonplussed when I said we needed to expand worship, perhaps by going to two services.

“But you’re only part-time!” she said.

Then she asked a really excellent question: “What DON’T you do that most other pastors do?”

I don’t teach Sunday School classes, not even for adults

I don’t teach Confirmation Class

I have nothing to do with Vacation Bible School

I don’t arrange the pulpit supply

I don’t do the “Prayers of the People”

I don’t do “Time with Children” except monthly when it’s my turn

I don’t maintain the prayer list

I don’t have anything to do with the choir or selection of anthems

I don’t follow up on members who don’t come to church

I don’t schedule all-church events

I don’t know how many paper plates are in the cupboard

I don’t have anything to do with scheduling child care

I don’t record the outgoing phone messages in a cheery voice

I don’t listen to phone messages unless the Admin Asst forwards them

I don’t interface with people using our building

I don’t think about whether the walks are shoveled or parking lot plowed

I don’t help serve the meal at the homeless shelter once a month

I don’t give the “Minute for Mission”

I don’t spend time in my office at set, regular times

I don’t have anything to do with the church directory or picture directory

I don’t write the yearly stewardship letter

I don’t do the Annual Statistical Report required by presbytery

I don’t take on any responsibilities in the presbytery

I don’t check up on my elders to see if they’ve done what they said they would do

I don’t do all that, and still, the world rotates on its axis. Even more amazing, all of the above work gets done. ?By elders. ?To me, this is ecclesiology in action. And believe me, I’m not perfect at delegating. There are some things I do that someone else could do, but which I consider my servant leadership:

I proofread the church e-newsletter

I interface with the fire-extinguisher-recharger guy

I clean out closets occasionally

I change lightbulbs and empty my own trash

I tidy up the pew Bibles on Sunday morning

Maybe tomorrow I’ll post what I DO do, because you’re probably wondering!


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