Working Like a Minister

Right now, I am working extremely hard to get things done before I leave on sabbatical in 2 weeks. (eek! 2 weeks from today! how did that happen?) One of the things I needed to get done was an estimation of how much time I spend doing what. This was needed because the congregation will be putting together a Program Budget for the first time.

For those of you who don’t know what that means, instead of giving everyone a line item budget that lists how much we budget for toilet paper, utilities, pensions, etc., we will give them a pie chart that breaks down the budget by what part of the church’s ministry the money supports. (i.e. Program) Here is what I came up with:

As I understand it, we are going to use the categories in the Strategic Plan to create the Program Budget. Using that as a guide, here is a best guess:

1. Welcoming and engaging public worship: 12 – 14 hours (26%)
2. Welcoming and engaging religious education for all ages: 3 hrs (6%)
3. New member welcome and integration: 4-6 hours (10%)
4. Caring for and retaining ongoing members and friends: 5 – 8 hrs (14%)
5. Supportive pastoral care and small group ministry: 8 – 10 hrs (18%)
6. Community outreach and expressions of social conscience: 2 hrs (4%)
7. Involvement and identification with the Unitarian Universalist Association, District, and affiliated organizations: 1 hr (2%)
8. Strategic development and stewardship of resources: 10 hrs (20%)

Just because it interested me, here is what the congregation said it wanted the minister to do in the search packet created in 2002 that brought me here:

1. Spiritual Leadership (including preparation of worship services/celebrations.)
2. Pastoral Functions (counseling, visiting the sick, etc.)
3. Intellectual Development (challenges/stimulates the congregation)
4. Facilitator (promotes involvement in congregational life.
5. Social Activism (promoting ethical values in community)
6. Administrator (achieves results by supporting efforts of others)
7. Other

When asked to rate the importance of particular ministerial functions, they ranked them in this way:

1. (tie) Preaching
1. (tie) Building Community
3. Social Action
4. Expansion of Membership
5. Making Pastoral Calls
6. Personal Counseling
7. Participation in Denominational Affairs
8. Child/Youth Religious Education
9. Adult Religious Education
10. Administration
11. Fundraising

I always find these sorts of things fascinating. What do people think ministers do? What do they want their minister to do? Who do they think will do the things that are not top priorities? Are they prepared to do them?

What patterns do you see? How do you think we can better communicate about what ministers do, what can be reasonably expected of them, and how they should set priorities? I’m looking forward to your comments!


One thought on “Working Like a Minister

  1. Where do you put the hours spent on e-mail trying to fix messes or avoid them? Maybe it comes under #4 “Caring for and retaining members and friends.” I find all the piddly little back-and-forth is a horrendous time-eater. Maybe it’s because I’m a control frek and can’t leave well enough alone.

    Well, Sean, it’s my day off and I don’t want to spend it thinking about ministry (any more than I HAVE to).

    I’m looking forward to hearing about your sabbatical once you get there.

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