Monday, March 16, 2009

A Typical Week

My work life has fallen into a sort of a pattern. I work four days a week (notionally)

Monday mornings are full of meetings; most with other staff but its also a good day for pastoral visiting as I work a "long day" on a Monday. But I really appreciate this day as one where we get some devotional time together as a staff team.
On a Tuesday I would usually be off but until the end of May I will be working most Tuesdays to make up for time spent finishing my degree.
(Wednesday and Thursday mornings)
Thursday invariably has a service planning meeting but we have recently started to have tea and a natter during that and we love this time - it's fun! and
Friday at the moment is spent on a morning Alpha course and prep for Sunday. I finish work at lunchtime to collect my children from their half day at school.
Saturday is usually off, although my patient husband would type here that like most people involved in any kind of teaching at church I invariably spend some time preparing later on a Saturday night - I admit to that.
Sunday - I am classed as working a half day although that starts early and finishes late. I love everything about Sundays, apart from carting all my equipment about to set up kids worship times from scratch again from building to building. That bothers me, especially as I often put a lot of effort into making things good quality and fun for kids but (a) I can't moan about it except here to an audience of nine (my dear blog followers) and (b) I've already done so at elders and staff meetings so I can never mention it again, I have just got to get on with it. Oh, I no longer live but Christ lives in me......

I'm struggling with the "living sacrifice" thing at the moment. I just feel that my self is so strong. I guess this is why God moved us here, away from familiar territory, because he wants to refine me. Owch! I was a straggly heap on Sunday in an undignified face-to-the-floor type moment because, when worshipping I was humbled by the thought that Jesus is so worth it and I am so unworthy and I just wept and wept. But then it was one of those "look at his face and be filled up" moments.

I find I am doing increasing amounts of admin work and writing work at home in the evenings just now as I am combining work and finishing my degree. I can do some of this at home when the children have gone to bed as I finish early most days to collect my children from school and to have some time with them (homework takes ages though!)

Thus I try to limit my evening sessions to no more than three a week, ideally two -but this is difficult as I spend a lot of time with volunteers and caring for individuals and families.

All church staff members, I suspect, are losing days off as we can't carry them all the spare days forward. It's not that we don't want to have days off; (I do!) - its often that we have taken time back for the extra hours on Saturday things or on additional evening meetings so if we were to take even more days off we simply wouldn't get any work done.

I would be really interested in hearing how people juggle/boundary their time when they work for a church. What are other readers' thoughts and experiences?

It's probably ridiculous that I work four days a week as I hardly ever do, if I am being totally honest. Are we also in a culture often where we don't take lunch breaks; to talk to one another about non-work things is interrupting people's genuinely busy day? I have heard me say things more here than I said in the past: "I've got this deadline" "I've got to get this done today", "I'm sorry I've only got a minute" and its also been said to me just as much.

Stop for one another. Take time for the one. Calm the storm, still the seas, overturn the tables of expectation, let things go - all so so much easier said than done.


  1. This is tough. At the moment I'm trying to work out what is work, and what is not. I know that having had CFS I can so easily relapse and need to be so very careful about eating properly, resting and so on.

    That's tough to do as part of THE church.

    Now, technically I only work 18 hours a week. But then there's looking out for volunteers. There's mentoring young people (and the preparation that comes with it). There's singing and music practice. There's raising awareness about the charity I work for - the local one, and the national one. There's the e-mails I get at all hours. Does driving to London and back for training to do a voluntary trip to serve churches in South Africa count as 'work'?

    My question is where's the respite? Where are we pastoring each other, encouraging one another...especially as increasingly we get 'mission focused'. I'd far prefer to be 'love focused'. Even if that does sound cheesy.

  2. You have put your finger on the point exactly BK - in society today no-one really does their minimum hours - everyone I know overworks rather than underworks, with email and blackberries and iphones meaning that being in constant contact (and therefore perhaps under certain pressure) is common place and just relaxing and laughing and chatting is relegated to second place.

    I'm feeling the pressure of culture on my life and I struggle with this - its an insipid evil disguised as respectability (I'm going all Shane Claiborne again) but I'm seriously beginning to understand why new monasticism and practising quiet and contemplation (I would call it soaking) is coming into mega-churches in the States - see v interesting article here -


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