Monday, May 7, 2012

Monday Morning Preacher: A Quarter of your Time

I didn't preach this weekend, and it's amazing how much I was able to get done.  I'll have more to say later this week (probably) on the clergy side of the job search equation, but one thing that really struck me, writing the advice for pastoral search committees, is that preaching and Sunday services are a quarter-time job.

This is not the "every minute of your sermon takes an hour" dictum; I think that's a bit too pat.  But I have found over the years that despite my best efforts, there's always a day (usually called "Saturday") that has to be fully dedicated to preparing the sermon.  Even if I'm not sitting and writing, or reading commentaries, or pondering deeply, the whole day is colored by the need to get the sermon written.

So there's that, and then there's the services.  For one service, that's at least 2 hours.  For two, at least 4 1/2, which includes the time prepping before the service, cleaning up afterwards, and talking with people at coffee hour.

All of which adds up to, at a minimum, 10 hours, or a quarter of your time.

I would love it if that became the assumption in clergy job descriptions, that sermon prep and Sunday services are a quarter of the job, and that only the remaining 30 hours are up for negotiation.  Having looked at a good many clergy job descriptions, they seem to jam so much stuff in there as if they were worried you wouldn't have enough to do.  Would that change, do you think, if there were a deeper understanding that preaching and presiding took up 1/4 of their allotted work week?

More later.

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