How do I organize my weekly schedule as a pastor?

I have often described pastoral ministry as this joyful burden of being able to spend so much time doing such fruitful things, yet never getting close to completing all that needs to be done.  I had lunch this week with a pastor friend of mine who asked me how I arranged my weekly schedule.  Here are the main bullet points of how I told him I prioritize my week:

Prepare to preach/teach.  Regardless what is happening  in our family and church, Sunday still comes 6 days later.  We must first prioritize having adequate time to study to prepare for our responsibilities to preach and teach for the upcoming week. 

Schedule “essential meetings” with people.  These are the meetings that must take place this next week.  For example: setting aside time to pray for your people, service planning, staff meeting, a marriage in crisis, hospital visitation, etc.  Your wife and other pastor/elders are your best resource to help you determine what meetings are actually “essential.”

Fill in the gaps.  If you are like me, then after these first two are in my schedule, there are only a few other pockets of time to schedule other discipleship meetings, time for administration, writing projects, counseling, fellowship with other pastors, and continuing the systematic process to visit and care for widows and other church members. 

I feel the burden of my failures every week without exception to meet all the needs that need to be met and accomplish all that needs to be accomplished.  Yet, in God’s kind design of our calling these failures give us an edge that we all need that make us strive to be better more faithful pastors.  It also reminds us of our need to depend upon God alone as we labor in this fine work and that our worth is not in what we do or accomplish, but in our identity in Christ. 

Other pastors, feel free to chime in through comments.

Posted in Training for Ministry
7 comments on “How do I organize my weekly schedule as a pastor?
  1. How do I organize my weekly schedule as a pastor? Try that question again, but include …and full time teacher at the local public school?

    I love your last paragraph. I am also reminded of my failures, but on multiple fronts, but I agree with your encouragement that our identity is in Christ. I do what I can, I squeeze as much as I can squeeze into my schedule, but I have great relief when I remind myself that ultimately, it doesn’t depend on me.

    • Brian Croft says:

      Great point! I certainly would defer to a brother like yourself who has that amazingly hard task of bi-vocational ministry that I respect so deeply and am so thankful to God for men who labor as you do.

  2. My Schedule Priorities:
    1. Daily private prayer and Bible study. My first schedule priority is my personal time with the Lord. I give that my best hours, first thing in the morning when I wake up.
    2. Family Time. My first flock is my wife and son.
    3. Sermon preparation. I usually spend a couple hours each day in the mornings on this.
    4. Prayer. I am constantly fighting this battle with myself, but I must spend time praying for my flock. Prayer is often my weakest point.
    5. Visitation. Hospitals, Sunday guests, church members, etc.
    6. Meetings.
    7. Other reading and writing.
    8. REST?

  3. Rod says:

    I am presently “in transition” as they say (i.e. looking for a church) but as I look back at my schedule each day was set aside as follows:
    Monday – Administration (Pastoral Staff Meeting – All Church Staff Meetings)
    Tuesday – Counseling (I tried to schedule my counseling one one day and back-to-back as it can eat your time and drain you physically)
    Wednesday – Sermon Prep (I usually got off campus to focus and then would return to the church in the afternoon)
    Thursday – Staff Chapel & Misc. Meetings…loose ends
    Friday – Day off (Seasonal Bible Study in the Evening with my Wife and I leading – in our home)
    Saturday – Sunday Prep (This was my own personal worship and prep time for Sunday – Most people knew that I would not attend a social function on Saturday night – Also, having Thursday – Saturday evening gave me a longer time with my family and I tended to be more alert and energetic than, let’s say, Monday)
    Sunday – Two Services with occasional Evening classes or gatherings

    Now, not all days were full of the events or content described, so like you, I would look at priorities and put the little rocks around the big rocks. This also helped me to protect my evenings for the family…

    Just a snapshot of my world.

  4. francis says:

    Your answers are really helpful and in the right direction

5 Pings/Trackbacks for "How do I organize my weekly schedule as a pastor?"
  1. […] discipleship, Family, pastoral ministry, Priorities, Scheduling by Adam B. Embry Over at Brian Croft’s blog, he answers the question, “How do I organize my week as a pastor?” But what about […]

  2. […] projects to crack on with, and some pastoral visits to start arranging.  I need to make those more of a priority.  Then, the following Lord’s day, I am off to Spring Road in Southampton.  I am still not quite […]

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  5. […] Since this is new territory for him, he asked me how he should organize his time each week.  On a previous post, I gave a general template I think pastors should follow amidst our biblical tasks.  Here is a […]

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