Pastors spend a lot of time coming up with programs and program ideas, getting people to run them and making sure the funding is in place for them. Most churches do some sort of discipleship program, Alpha, newcomers luncheons, summer picnics, Purpose Driven Life, youth groups, junior high groups, kids Sunday school and the list goes on. Typically (unless you’re at a larger church) it is the job of the senior pastor to make sure all these things are in order; whether it is directly or indirectly.
We usually depend on our children’s pastor to put on a program for our kids at least every Sunday and hopefully every Wednesday. Youth pastors are expected to do good youth services and if the pastor is good, a youth service that will attract the unsaved youth. At the two larger churches I worked at, as a pastoral intern, I spent most of my time running programs for the pastors (and of course graphic design work). Running picnics, day camps, mission trips, baptism classes and senior nights took up most of my time and occasionally would get a chance to teach.
Is it really the pastor’s jobs to fill up the schedules of their congregations with programs? I’m not even talking about if these programs are useful or not, but I am asking if it is the pastor’s job to run them. Are they called to be nothing more than a YMCA coordinator with the role of making sure the calendar has a large selection of events to attend?
On top of this, I know a lot of us pastors spend a good chunk of that time advertising these programs. Not only are we tied up in running, organizing and thinking up these programs but we spend so much time designing advertisement schemes to make sure everyone knows about them. It can be as simple as the weekly bulletin or as complicated as phone calls, mass e-mail updates or specific cards pushing each event. Announcements on Sundays take up more and more time, but we would never think to cut it, because it is so crucial that the congregation knows where the pastor is spending his time.
Creating, organizing, running, advertising and worry about every program the church does is not the job of a pastor. If they are, then they aren’t pastors, they are simply program coordinators. Which isn’t necessarily bad, but if that’s what they are doing and where they are spending their time then we should probably call it what it is. Pastors have a much more relational role, which I’ll eventually get to. I’m having too much fun talking about what a pastor isn’t.