Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Why the Minister’s Day Off is a Myth

Ministers routinely work 50-60 hours a week, at all times of the day and night. If a parishioner passes away on Wednesday and a memorial service is scheduled for Saturday, that can add another 25 to 35 hours of time and effort, not to mention the emotional toll.

Then, said minister may be in the pulpit for two services on Sunday. Some church boards meet on Sunday evenings. This may total a 75-80 hour, highly stressful week. The minister then gets Monday off?

Methodist minister Bill Easum claimed that one day off did not allow him time to wind down, let alone gear up for another long week that lay ahead. Instead, he would sometimes work eight or nine days in a row, then take three consecutive days off.

This scheme may not be every minister’s cup of tea and would require some planning. But I think itís on option that clergy and lay leaders should explore.

Ministers (and their families) live in goldfish bowls, and are on-call to an extent that secular workers rarely are. Ministers are also more vulnerable to criticism about their job performance than most working professionals, especially in regard to being available to church members.

Most ministers I know work far more hours than their contracts call for. Rearranging days off for their professional and emotional well-being is well worth the slight inconvenience that some church members may experience.

1 comment:

  1. An Episcopal reader comments, "Part of a minister's responsibility is a healthy lifestyle. Christ was the perfect model, taking time for himself when he needed, sometimes delegating the work to others, so he could faithfully do what God sent Him to do. We need ministers to do the same in their lives."