Only after two days on the job as senior pastor of Genesis Community Church I can see that this is the quintessential lifestyle-vocation. I explained to a friend recently that I can see how, as a pastor, there may be times when you're seemingly more "on the clock," but you're never really "off the clock." Just since Sunday I have noticed that the duties one takes on in order to assimilate into the new church community (you get to know them and they get to know you), in addition to constructing a teaching/preaching plan and jumping into the "business" of the church can and will occur at all hours of the day. Set business hours are somewhat irrelevant. What arbitrary setting of work hours could account for softball Sunday evenings, coffee on Tuesday mornings, pastoral rendezvous at lunchtime, cell phones calls, emails and errands?
It is not necessarily alarming, just a paradigm all its own. This will be further complicated when I can set up meetings with people with the frequency I desire, for I thrive on seeing people face to face...against my will I succumbed to pressure and purchased a cell phone ;-)
Nevertheless, I can now see that great discipline is necessary both to develop a productive schedule (there is no boss hovering over to make sure the work is done), and to create those times when one is not "at work." The former is less difficult since I am intensely active by default. The latter appears more difficult. It is made so because at present, my work office and my office at home are one in the same. This very day I had to inform my children that the closed office door will be their visual queue that I'm "working" in a manner than must not be interrupted (as opposed to my normal practice of leaving it open because I rather enjoy their interruptions). How grateful I am for my Franklin-Covey planner.
As time goes on the schedule will become more dependable (though not necessarily routine). Tuesdays and Thursdays will look like this; Wednesdays and Fridays will look like that. Naomi will have an idea as to what nights I might pick to spontaneously invite people over. But in any case, the old slogan for the U.S. Navy appears to be appropriate for the pastor's lifestyle: It's not just a job...it's an adventure.
Far from lending itself to becoming a predictable rut, the pastoral schedule appears to maintain such a level of variety in tasks, times and people as to qualify for the category labeled "adventure." For this reason, I am quite excited about what God has embarked me on, knowing that although it can include "office hours," it is more accurate to suggest that this vocation calls for the work "hours" of adventure.