Thursday, July 15, 2010

Quality Outputs Require Quality Inputs

MAIN IDEA: Self-care is essential for effective ministry

Lifeway Research recently made a study on the tendency of pastors to work extremely long hours. Out of 1000 pastors surveyed, nearly 39% of them spend less than 4 hours a week on personal devotions, that is UNRELATED to their teaching ministries. The article's title essentially summarizes the results of the survey: "Pastor's long work hours can come at the expense of people, ministry."

The "How Protestant Pastors Spend Their Time" study also reveals that:

  • Pastors work an average of 50 hours a week;
  • Bi-vocational pastors work about 30 hours weekly;
  • Most time (up to 14 hours) were spent on sermon preparations;
  • Counseling and visitation about 6 hours;
  • Hospital visits about 11 hours;
  • 10 hours a week at electronic correspondence;
The most worrying trend is the lack of personal devotions where prayer and personal time with God at an alarmingly low 1 to 6 hours per week!

Ed Stetzer, an author with Lifeway has this to say about the above: "The need for better self-care."

I concur, and add that, the quality of our output each week, must be matched by a similar input. For quality ministry, quality input is required. For long term health, quality relationship with God is critical. Another factor is to know ourselves and our work patterns. Working long hours does not mean we work harder. Working less hours does not mean we are not working hard enough. The key is being able to know ourselves in the LORD.
"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." (Col 3:23-24)


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