We’re interacting with Ken Callahan’s book, “Effective Church Leadership” here. I’ve done him the favor of re-titling it Organizational Leadership for Missional Churches without asking him.

He’s talks a bit about re-imagining the way pastors spend their time. In a churched culture, we were taught that most of our time could be spent studying, parsing verbs and keeping track of the inside workings of the church. he writes,

” [In interviews of pastors I learn that] The initial locus and primary focus of their work is in their offices. TIme-management studies again and again have confirmed that pastors invest a large percentage of their time in their offices – in meetings, in doing administrative work, and in taking care of administrative details…

I am not proposing that pastors eliminate their offices. That would miss the central point. Pastors continue to spend so much time in their offices simply because it is a familiar and habitual behavior pattern that has been nurtured and reinforced for many, many years. And the foundation underlying that behavior pattern is an understanding of the nature of leadership that is no longer helpful.” (16)

As I have sought to re-learn how to spend my time as a pastor I can confess that this is true. It’s much, much more natural for me to sit behind my computer most of the week doing “helpful” things that do help our church. But, sometimes these “helpful” things aren’t the “best” things for the mission of our congregation. I am 6 years into the process re-learning what it means to be a pastor in a missionary context.

Not to build him up unnecessarily, but over the past few months, I have been inspired and encouraged by my good friend JR Briggs who has been living this out amazingly well.  His stories of interacting with his geographical community are awesome and if you want to know what it means to engage your local context, he’s a good one to learn from.

This poses some questions,

  • How should a missionary pastor be spending his / her time?
  • What kinds of places should a pastor be going?
  • Who should he be having conversations with?
  • Is your church leadership teams/boards giving the pastor the freedom to reimagine their role? This is an important piece of the puzzle as many pastors want to do this, but the expectations laid down by their boards are in direct opposition to it..

As a bi-vocational pastor, this approach to my time takes on a different form. I’m putting together a typical week for me and I’ll be posting that in the near future….