How pastors spend their time
by Joelle Kopacz
Being a pastor takes a lot of time: a median of 50 hours per week, according to these survey results. While large parts of the week are typically spent in preaching and worship leadership and in administration (a combined median of 22 hours per week), pastors spend a few hours each on a variety of other tasks.
The time spent on different ministry activities varies by type of call. Solo pastors more closely resemble heads of staff (pastors in congregations with at least one associate pastor on staff) than associate pastors in the time spent weekly on preaching and worship leadership. Yet solo pastors more closely resemble associate pastors when it comes to the time spent on administration.
As a group, associate pastors devote more hours to teaching, compared with heads of staff and solo pastors. They also spend slightly more time in youth ministry, though, like other pastors, most associates spend no more than an hour or two a week in this area. In some ways, the most interesting finding is how similar the workweek is for associates and for other pastors, except for the time spent on preaching and worship leadership.
Pastors’ busy schedules can become even busier during December. This Advent, consider thanking pastors for the many hours they spend in service to the congregation. They may appreciate your recognition even more than your famous fruitcake!
I am most interested in the 50hour average, since my work weeks were never this easy! Having served in congregations of 2000+ members as well as smaller churches, I found that "staff management" took a whole lot of time. I never did much counseling, but I tried to be a faithful visitor - and I might add that dealing with pastoral emergencies was always a consumer of time. Tall-steeple churches are where everyone wants to be married and buried and so serving people with these needs (who often are NOT members of the parish) takes a lot of time. I often wonder what i actually made an hour! But I loved it, and now enjoy retirement and a larger measure of freedom. LSL