The stereotype about clergy -- especially Christian pastors -- is that they work an hour or two a week, mostly preaching.
I know few members of the clergy who work less than 60 hours a week.
But what do they do when they're not in the pulpit? To offer a partial answer to that, I want to share with you a list of skills and responsibilities contained in a document that a committee I'm now serving on at my church had to read recently. The committee has the task of nominating a new pastor for my congregation, and one of our jobs is to decide which 10 skills we most want in the person we would recommend that our church hire.
The list is long and exhausting (and, here and there, a bit repetitive, I think) when you think about it. But think about it:
* Administration of programs.
* Adult ministry.
* Building renovation/property development
* Choir directing
* Community ministries
* Conflict management/mediation skills
* Congregational fellowship
* Congregtional redevelopment/revitalization
* Curriculum building
* Development of new educational experiences
* Evaluation of program and staff
* Facility management
* Governing body ministry
* Hospital and emergency visitation
* Instrumental music
* Leadership development
* Leading music ministry
* Management of building usage
* New church development
* Older adult ministry
* Organizational leadership development
* Pastoral care
* Project management
* Rural ministry
* Small membership church ministry
* Staffing/human resources
* Strategic planning
* Training volunteers
* Urban ministry
* Youth ministry
If I gave you the whole list, I'd have to add 32 more -- from communications to corporate worship and administration of the sacraments to evangelism to stewardship to teaching and on and on.
Now, as I say, some of the list seems repetetive to me, and clearly not all categories will be needed in all faith communities.
But at least the list reminds you that the job of clergy is a lot more than an hour or two in the pulpit each week.
(The illustration here today is from http://www.churchtimes.co.uk/content.asp?id=32610)
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A PATH TO TREASON
The path from America to al-Qaida, this report says, can be informal but just as effective as using the more well-known "jihadist pipeline." I can understand why non-Muslim Americans convert to Islam. I've known a number of people who have. But why would an American then join the country's sworn enemy? All such people should be treated as traitors.
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P.S.: There's been some discussion here lately among commenters about churches in Poland when that country was under Soviet domination. So I thought you'd be interested in a column I wrote about two years ago from Poland that touches on that subject. To read it, click here. The column today resides on the Web site for my new book: www.theywerejustpeople.com, which officially will be published Sept. 3 but which can be pre-ordered now on Amazon.com and other sites, including the University of Missouri Press.