Monday, January 23, 2006

Taking Back Monday

I've been thinking about switching one of my days off. I don't know why this is blog-worthy, why anyone would find this interesting. But there it is. I've been thinking about switching one of my days off.

Right now, Fridays and Saturdays are the days I've chosen to abstain from church work. They work...usually. By that time, my sermon has congealed enough in my memory, but not enough that I'm fully comfortable going the entire two days without practicing it. It's a long time in between Thursday and Sunday to forget what I planned to say.

Saturdays in particular have become a freaking hassle. I have Saturdays off...unless we're hosting a steak supper...or the youth are hosting a program...or there's a wedding...or the only day a couple planning to get married/have their kid baptized can meet with me is Saturday...or the Association is hosting a meeting. Other than that, the day is all mine. During Advent, this wasn't possible. During February, it won't be either.

Pastors-to-be are told, at least at my seminary alma mater, to take time off seriously. Self care. Self care. Self care. If ya don't get it, make up for it.

This is not a 9-to-5, Monday-Friday profession, either. We work weekends. There's no getting around that. Increasingly, we pastors are in good company on that one. Some church programs just work better on Saturdays. People are more free, they haven't just come from an 8-hour workday (in theory)...Saturdays are a prime day for church activities. Sunday is family day, so after worship, don't bother planning much.

All of this is to say that in Rome, act like the Romans. As much as I bite and claw to maintain Saturday as a day of rest, it's becoming increasingly difficult to do so. And when the schedule does happen to be clear, my grumpiness meter starts to climb from about 7:00 onward because of the 'worried I'll forget my sermon' thing.

The alternative? Mondays. My predecessor took this day, so the congregation was used to no activities on Mondays until I came along and screwed it all up. I'm the only one in the office that morning at this point. People still rarely stop in then. I can spend the whole day coming down from the relief that I (mostly) remembered the sermon, do some chores, read, play guitar, watch wrestling, and start my week the next morning.

Saturdays provide such wonderful opportunities. I can catch all those people who work during the week and are too busy to talk to the pastor. I can work on my sermon guilt-free (though probably not grump-free). Steak dinner or youth program or Association meeting? I'm working anyway! Bring it on!

I'm way too excited about this. I can't take my mind off the refreshment potential that this brings to my week. Two days off that are at least more legitimate than before can be an exciting thing to a pastor. It's not two days in a row any more, but it's two full days. Hopefully.