Until 2014, I had no clue of what it meant for a pastor or church staff member to work more than one job. I was full-time with a decent salary in every church I served. When I found myself separated with divorce in sight, things changed. I found a few churches that would hire me part-time for music, but I had to find another job to function. I began to learn what many pastors have experienced for years – the struggle of balancing ministry and work. What does life look like for these pastors?
Their work lunch break becomes time for church work. When I was pastoring the church plant, I often took my lunch break in a restaurant where I had my Bible, a note pad, and resources to study. I also planned the church’s worship music, so I would send it to our guitarist. I would also make other church contacts during that time. It didn’t happen every day, but it was a common occurrence.
Their nights and weekends are spent preparing for church, often taking time away from family. While some think sermon preparation only takes minutes, it takes hours if you want to organize thoughts and present them in a way that will connect with people.
They have to say no to things that will often offend people. Many still expect pastors to visit shut-ins, hospitals, attend Sunday School class parties and other events when their primary source of income will not allow them to do so.
I hope this gives you a glimpse into the struggle it is for pastors who have to work other jobs to support a family while trying to lead their congregations in a Christ-honoring way. They want to give their all for Jesus, but work, church, and family have them pulled in multiple directions. Some churches hire pastors with the expectation that he and his family will do it all. They may want to, but they cannot realistically do so.
Whether your pastor is full-time or bivocational (working two jobs), pray for our pastor. Your prayers and support will mean more than you will ever know.