What Does A Pastor Do?

Everyone has heard the joke about pastors only working one day a week. I have never been offended by this humor because I am sure with some pastors, this may be true. But Christ-called pastors really work a full week and are on call 24/7. Now this by no means is a complaint, but just a statement of the obvious. So what does a pastor do when he is not preaching on Sundays, leading prayer meetings, or teaching classes? 

 There are a number of things that a pastor may be involved in that are not seen by the eyes of man. First, of course, is his study time. Some pastors can prepare a message easier or quicker than others, but most preaching pastors will tell you that preparing a message is their most time-consuming project. I begin my weekly studies on Monday mornings and usually finish the message at the end of Wednesday. This typically happens when there are no interruptions or emergencies. Thursdays are usually filled with meetings and appointments. Fridays and Saturdays are non-scheduled days often occupied with funerals, weddings, church meetings, or school events where a pastor’s presence may be required. My evenings are frequently filled Mondays through Thursdays with ministry-related service. Again, this can all be seasonal, but for the most part, this is fairly descriptive of my schedule and what I do.

But I want to share another component of pastoral ministry that is greatly overlooked. The apostle Paul, who certainly understood pastoral ministry (even writing three pastoral letters), said this about his calling and concern for the church in 2 Corinthians 11:28, “Beside those things that are without, that which comes upon me daily, the care of the church.”  What did Paul mean by this statement?  I believe he was trying to convey the burden he carried for his people. In the earlier verses, Paul listed some of his experiences. He had been whipped, beaten with rods, stoned, shipwrecked, faced perils, weariness, hunger, thirst, and nakedness. Paul had suffered much for the cause of Christ. When he began his journey as a follower of Jesus, it had been prophesied that he would suffer much for his faith. The Lord told Ananias in Acts 9:15 that Paul was a chosen vessel and then in the next verse, what was ahead for Paul, “For I will show him how many great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.”  Paul was told he was going to face much suffering, and he truly did. But I believe the burden in 2 Corinthians 11 was a far greater burden to bear.

Those pastors/elders who have a pastor’s heart understand exactly what I am talking about. MABC is blessed to have ten such men who understand this care for the church. We meet regularly, discuss the church, and pray faithfully over the needs of the church and the people. When our people hurt, we hurt. When our people are in the hospital, we are there with them. When our people struggle, so do we. The care of the church includes many lonely hours hurting for flock members. Why don’t they come to our flock meetings? Why won’t they get involved and serve?  Why won’t they fully surrender to Jesus? 

Pastors who have this type of sheep feel the pain, and the care often causes them to bear the burdens heavily. You will rarely hear about this work of the pastor, but it is one that is most taxing. It causes them to wake up at night and often think about it during the day. Why did that member leave? What could we have done better?  How do we help that member in crisis?  These and many other burdens weigh heavily on the heart of a pastor/elder. This is what a pastor does.

So, the next time you see someone not behaving the way a good church member should, or someone asks, What does the pastor do?, take them to 2 Corinthians 11:28 and give them an insider’s look. Nothing is as time-consuming and draining as the daily care of the church, but doing this for the King makes it all worth the effort.