I think one of the most common misconceptions of those who have not served as a senior pastor is that a pastor’s work is only the work of preaching. If you look at it that way, it would seem that pastors hardly work at all—perhaps for an hour two or three times each week.
Yet, when Paul described the “office of a bishop” (pastor), he specifically called it “work.”
This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. —1 Timothy 3:1
It was a joy a few months back to preach the ordination for our youngest son, Matthew, who will be planting Rock Hill Baptist Church in Fontana, California, in a few months. I chose 1 Timothy 3:1 as my text, and in the message, I noted four aspects of the work ministry.
If you have ever wondered what your pastor does all week, here it is. And if, as a pastor, you’ve ever wondered what aspects of your job you should focus on, here are four core responsibilities.
1. The work of prayer and study
This is one of the earliest responsibilities mentioned of undershepherds in the New Testament, and guarding time for it is the primary reason pastors should learn to delegate other responsibilities.
Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. —Acts 6:3–4
God commands me to “feed the flock” with the care of an undershepherd.
Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. —1 Peter 5:2–4
Strong, biblically-rich, theologically-accurate, personally-applicable messages do not just appear on your computer screen. They require hours of study, prayer and preparation.
If you are a pastor, this is time that you must fight for. There will always be any number of other urgent matters calling for your attention. But you must carve out those hours to pray and study God’s Word for the flock you are to feed.