I am not sure what a “normal” week looks like for a pastor. We are often pulled in the direction of the greatest needs of the moment and regularly deviate from the original plan. There are, however, some aspects of my week of which I diligently try to remain steadfast, regardless the unpredictable nature of my week. I want to share 3 of those pillars in my week with the hope that pastors reading this will identify those “non-negotiables” in their week that help keep some stability to a pastor’s weekly routine.
Never make significant decisions on Monday. The cliché is for a pastor never to resign on Monday. In the spirit of that saying, I would add never make big decisions on Monday. Monday is the typical crash day for most pastors coming off the emotional high (or rollercoaster) of the Lord’s Day. The combination of discouragement and fatigue that usually accompanies most Mondays for pastors is nothing to be taken lightly. Some people will push for big decisions on Monday. Just ride it out. Tell them you will have an answer for them by mid-week. Read this post on how to overcome the Monday morning “hangover” for further help. Holding my big decisions and responses for many matters until at least Tuesday have been an essential part of my routine both to keep me out of trouble and stabilize my unpredictable schedule.
Sermon first draft is done by Thursday night. Yes, my Sunday morning sermon manuscript is pretty much done by Thursday and yes, I am often told I am a freak show because of it. This allows my family day on Friday to have fewer distractions and provides a true break from my sermon, which I am able to revise on Saturday with fresh eyes and a refreshed heart and mind. This also gives a few brothers in the church some time to read my sermon at my request and give what is almost always helpful feedback.
Saturday night run before going to bed. I exercise several times a week, but probably no time more important than my Saturday night run. Once the sermon is ready, kids are in bed, and my wife is unwinding for the night, I leave and go on a good, hard, long, jog (words I typically do not affiliate with running) to relieve stress and expend any extra energy that might cause restlessness as I try to sleep. This a sweet outlet for me from God that allows me to sleep well and be fresh and ready when I wake up on Sunday.
These are 3 things I cherish in my routine. They will be different for you. Whatever they are, identify them and stick to them. Pastors, they help regulate our crazy schedules more than we might realize. If you cannot identify these in your life because your life constantly feels out of control, you may need to create a few of these. You might be amazed at how much they help create a routine for the life of a pastor, which is far from routine.
Pastors, what are some of your non-negotiables in your week that help you?