JimMartin.jpgRecently we had a conversation about the pastor’s time schedule, and Jim Martin, a friend, posted a comment I thought deserved a separate post. So here it is…

This is such an important concern. Working with a church can eat you
alive without the kind of boundaries talked about in the above

A couple of suggestions:
1. There is not end or completion to this work. Consequently, you must
set boundaries. You may work all day and then it is reasonable to be
home in the evenings. 
2. Put all commitments on your calendar.
Appointments, children’s ball games, dates with wife, coffee with a
friend. Someone asks are you busy, “Well I’ve got a commitment at 3:00
but I am happy to visit with you at 4:00, etc. Treat your family
commitments like any other commitment. 
3. Cluster meetings, counseling
if at all possible. There are some people who just can’t meet with you
during daytime working hours. I will often get together with them on
Sunday afternoon. I will also use the 2:00-4:00 for meetings. So I
might have a meeting and then fifteen minutes later meet a couple for
something that is more counseling in nature. I have done this for years
and it has really helped eliminate the need to be gone one more
4. Set your schedule by being proactive instead of being reactive. You
decide when you are going to the hospital or when you are going to
study. Some pastors will flinch at the slightest bit of criticism “Well
our last pastor was at the hospital so much that the staff knew him by
his first name.” Some might hear this and think they are supposed to
immediately rush to the hospital because of a veiled criticism. 
5. You
will have emergencies. There have been a number of times that I have
dropped everything that I was doing to rush to the hospital. A serious
car wreck. A massive heart attack and the person is near death. A drug
overdose. Bottom line: Be intentional and do the work. Set boundaries
and know this is right. On the other hand, try to please everyone and
do everything that everyone would like to see you do and you will end
up totally exhausted and a poor model of what it means to live a
balanced life.
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