I was recently written by a bi-vocational pastor who is about to become fully compensated by his church. 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 follow-up to that post worded a bit differently, yet, emphasizes the same biblical responsibilities that should be visible in how we as full-time pastors prioritize our time. It should also be noted that this template could be applied by a bi-vocational pastor with obvious limitations with his time.
Ministry of the Word and Prayer. Although often squeezed by other things, the pastor has to make sure he has adequate time for prayer and preparation to preach God’s Word. This is the central means of which we feed God’s people when we gather together and how God builds his church. We also need not to overlook the time the pastor must spend praying and ministering the Word to his people in smaller settings such as hospital rooms, living rooms, and sitting in his office while counseling.
Deliberate care of souls. The New Testament teaches the pastor/elder is to shepherd the flock of God (1 Peter 5:2) knowing he will give an account for souls (Heb. 13:17). We must spend our time in the deliberate care of the souls of our people. I say deliberate because much of what the pastor does with his people may not constitute the care of their souls. Be deliberate and make this a priority.
Necessary Church Administration. All administration is not necessary for the pastor to do, but some does require his attention. Make sure you are discerning in what administration tasks need to be done by the pastor and what could be delegated to someone else not responsible to preach every week. Ultimately, the task to “exercise oversight” (1 Peter 5:2) is to make sure the church runs in a smooth and efficient manner. Delegate as much as possible so to focus on the first two priorities.
Many pressures and demands pull on the pastor’s time. A full-time capacity does not allow enough time to address them all, though I wish it did. Be wise and diligent with whatever time you are given, and delegate to other capable servants in the church so you are able to focus on that which God calls us to whether bi-vocational or full-time.