A question I often get asked is “What does a Pastor do from day to day?”
The most obvious thing is preparing a sermon each week. Every pastor is different in their process. I typically read through the assigned weekly scripture reading at least a half-dozen times throughout the week. I might copy by hand the Gospel lesson as a way to slow down my brain and meditate on the words. I spend time throughout the week, praying, thinking about current events, writing down my thoughts about the Scripture, reading commentaries, and then reading through my notes aloud. Usually, by Friday I have a strong sense of what my sermon will look like. I will write an outline and review it until I preach it. As someone told me once “A Sermon isn’t done until it is preached.” When I preach, my prayer is that you hear God’s voice. Sometimes the sermon might be challenging you, other times it might bring comfort, but I strive to communicate the love of Jesus no matter what. My prayer is that my preaching makes you more aware of how God might be speaking to you in your daily life.
Throughout the week I usually have a variety of meetings in which I provide guidance and prayerful reflection. I spend a fair amount of time thinking, planning, and writing to prepare for each meeting. Much of the conversations at these meetings center around how God and our community are best served through our efforts here at Community. I spend time brainstorming about how we can impact our neighborhood. I am often looking ahead to the seasons of our church calendar so to provide meaningful worship experiences from year to year.
One of the most important daily tasks is my time spent in prayer and reading Scripture. Serving God as a Pastor is a privilege. Learning to love God more helps me to give my best as I lead this community. I typically go through the directory and pray for folks by name. Spending time in reflection and listening to God is a priority for every follower of Jesus, but even more so for pastors. As Martin Luther states “Prayer is like breathing”.
One of the things I value most is getting to spend time with my flock. On Sundays, I learn something new about our community every time I lead worship. I occasionally pop in on some of the various team meetings or Bible studies. I make phone calls or go to your homes, or you might even come by my office. There are also other times when I am called upon to support you through a surgery or illness, the death of a loved one, or when people are just struggling with life. I have the privilege of sharing the gifts of the communion table to those who are homebound as well. I value hearing your stories. I hope that my presence reflects God’s presence to you. I am often amazed by how much I see God’s grace through each and every one of you.
I also represent our small community to the wider community through my involvement with other churches in our local Ministerium, particularly at the many Ecumenical prayer services and service events. I also meet with my Lutheran colleagues and churches across our Synod and the ELCA. This gives us a connection to the wider church and provides me and our church with additional ideas, resources, and support for our ministry of sharing the Gospel of Jesus.
It is a privilege to be your pastor. There are probably numerous other things I do: like help with the website or Facebook, assist with clean-up around the church. I make the annual climb to the attic to get Christmas decorations down. These tasks would probably fall into the “other duties as assigned” in my letter of call. Of course, the biggest task that I am called to is to love God’s people to the best of my ability.