Saturday, July 01, 2006


I wonder how many pastors count Saturday as a workday. I don't mean 'I need to finish my sermon instead of going to Billy's baseball game' either. I mean, I wonder how many pastors declare that, if congregants really need you, they can count on you being in the office sometime that day, or you purposely schedule an event that day because you'll be working anyway. Finishing the sermon is a perk because you don't feel like you're sacrificing time that could otherwise be spent...well...doing anything fun. Or maybe one feels that way regardless.

I switched Saturday to a workday around the new year. I thought that it would give me an opportunity to catch up with all those congregation members who have 9-5 weekday jobs. So far, this move has not yielded the results I've been seeking, partially because I don't think I've really taken advantage of the possibilities yet. It does help for scheduling new member classes, and there are plenty of activities scheduled on Saturdays anyway, where I don't feel like I'm taking time out of a day off to do them.

Still, I haven't fully adjusted to the concept of working on Saturday. This is the sacred do-nothing day for many people (and it is perhaps a little naive of me to think that people who work all week would want to spend even part of it with their pastor, outside of worship which is built into the schedule). I DO like the lack of set office hours one less day a week. If I had to just sit in my office four mornings a week, I'd get some sort of church office cabin fever. Saturdays have become my flexible day...I set my own schedule (a good chunk of which IS devoted to the sermon). Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday are my more typical office hours/committee meeting/Bible study/afternoon retiree visit times. Saturdays invite more creativity. They are the day for youth outings and lunches with 20-somethings. They are for weddings and swiss steak. They are for last-minute sermon prep and discussing baptism with young families. In the culture of this particular church anyway, working on Saturdays makes sense. You can't get 'em to do much of anything on Sundays (it's unofficially designated as Family Day), so Saturdays are the next option.

Of course, it won't be like this forever. My wife has hated this arrangement since I made the switch. And once we have a kid old enough to go to school, there's no way I'm giving up my entire Saturday.

So for now, it works. On the flip side, Mondays as a day off are freakin' awesome. I kind of shorthand myself in terms of all those national holiday Mondays (Labor Day, MLK, Memorial Day), but I love the feeling of walking out after the benediction and thinking, 'Okay...we'll pick up again on Tuesday.' Yeah, that's the stuff.