Juggling Sheep
Welcome to Juggling Sheep, Jay Perry's blog about time management and personal productivity for pastors. Learn to balance work, life, family, and personal spirituality.

Share your best practices, tips and tricks, processes, sermon planning ideas, and resources. Feel free to email me: jaylperry[at]gmail[dot]com.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Enforcing Your Schedule

Last time I was getting my hair cut, the stylist was talking (I think it's part of their formal training) about my family and my job and what I do, blablabla. And she said, "Oh, I could never be a pastor. Being on call like that all the time..."

I've heard that sentiment quite a bit. I think pastors are only on call 24/7 when they allow themselves to be on call 24/7.

Does this stylist really think she can call and get in touch with her pastor at 3am? And does she think her pastor will actually do something for her at 3am? Maybe if her pastor is some weird, codependent, people-pleasing, enabler with no sense of boundaries...

Just a couple of personal stories:
I had a member call around midnight once. The ringing woke me up (I had been in bed two or three hours already). I looked at the caller-id and saw it wasn't a family member. So I went back to sleep. I called the man back around 5:30am. I said, "I noticed on my caller-id that you called me last night. It must have been really important for you to call so late. So I'm returning your phone call." The man could hardly talk, he was so sleepy. And he never tried to call me late again. (That's me being a little passive-aggressive.)

A family transferred to Cornerstone from a different church. They are very active members with lots of energy and ideas. Unfortunately, those ideas seemed to desperately require my input every Sunday (my day off). Sometimes multiple times on Sunday. This went on for about three weeks [note to self: passive-aggressive behavior doesn't work with some people]. Finally, one Sunday when they called, I just said, "Look. Sunday is my day off and I'm trying to spend it with my family and not think about work (because a big part of the pastor's job is thinking). I'm excited that you have all these ideas, but if you need to get in touch with me, I'm available during the week. Please don't call me on Sunday unless you're dying." They seemed a little hurt and brought it up twice over the next couple of months, but they have never called me again on my day off.
Top 5 Ways to Enforce Your Schedule:
  1. Publish your work schedule. Write it out on a chart. Put it on the church office door. Send it out to all the members. Give it to all the new and potential members in your Membership Class. When it changes, send a new one out to the members, so they'll have an updated copy. Download my most recent.
  2. Don't publish your home phone number. Not even in the church directory. If you really think people may need to get in touch with you during non-office hours, get a cell phone. When you don't want to take business calls, just turn your cell phone off. Your spouse doesn't need to become your de facto secretary, constantly telling people to call you at the office or taking your messages.
  3. Make exceptions truly exceptional. If someone is dying, break your schedule. Otherwise, keep it intact.
  4. Be direct about your boundaries. Tell your church that they can't get in touch with you on date night. Tell people what you will and won't do. Tell them you're only willing to work 40 hours a week. If you don't tell them, they won't know.
  5. Quit micromanaging. For the most part, let your church members make their best decisions and let it go. If you have to control everything and make yourself indispensable, people won't be able to make a move without your personal blessing. If you have created that pastor-dependent culture, it's your own fault when people are hounding you for input 24/7.
Some links to previous articles:

1 comment:

Jay said...

Wow! This post totally makes me sound like a mean-spirited, cold, heartless prick.

But It's not really like that. Honest.