Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Week in the Life - Saturday

As previously mentioned (Monday), Pastors should have more than one day off a week. It becomes challenging to keep two days off (one for Sabbath rest, one for laundry, errands, etc.), but I try my best. After a morning run, I spend Saturday with my family. Work creeps in a bit as I have coffee with my brother-in-law and his fiancĂ©e. I'm officiating their wedding, and we need to plan out their wedding liturgy. Other than that, the Saturday is spent restfully enjoying shopping, eating, and catching up with loved ones. 
The alarm is set awfully early, and Sunday comes before I know it!

(A week in the life is a blog series I'm writing to share what a normal week in the life of this pastor looks like. I serve as the Minister of Discipleship and Mission at King Avenue UMC in Columbus, Ohio.)  

A Week in the Life - Friday

Whew... the days fly by right before Holy Week. Sorry for the delay, but here is Friday! 

9 a.m. - Arrive in the office. Have conversation with supervising pastor about footwear. He's shoe shopping. Hysterical. 

9:15 a.m. - Coffee made, to-do list being worked through. Specific items being worked on are: communicating with hosts for the upcoming week of IHN hosting, small group rosters and leadership, organizing for a young clergy gathering, communicating with team serving dinner at a community shelter, and archiving emails.

At some point during all of this, another staff member arrives, talking supervising pastor out of the shoes that office administrator and I had talked him into. We're back to square one. 

11:30 a.m. - Leave office to make hospital call. On our staff we each have an "on call" day, and Friday is mine. I'm headed to Riverside Hospital, just a quick drive from my office. The hospital is under a great deal of construction and parking is a bit hairy, but I'm glad to have the extra steps on my pedometer.

12:30 p.m.  - Eat my quick lunch (packed) and head to the gym. I also run home to let the dogs out and get ready for the evening. 

3:00 p.m. - Spend some time in prayer at home. It just feels necessary today for some reason.

4:00 p.m. - Arrive back at church to meet volunteers fixing dinner for an event. I let them in, check in with them, and then head upstairs.

4:30 p.m. - Palm fronds have arrived, and we're folding crosses to give to the children during worship on Sunday. While folding, supervising pastor, office administrator, and I have great conversation about where the church used to be and where it is now. I'm encouraged. We also have the debate:


Executive pastor and I have never been in a church using primarily the latter before coming to King Avenue. Supervising pastor seems to think that the former is an abomination to Palm Sunday worship (we all know that he really just thinks the latter are better for childlike hitting). 

5:30 p.m. - Head down to fellowship hall for dinner and our event. It is a lively night of fellowship! Event is still running strong at 8:30 p.m., but I've got to head home. My partner's parents, brother, and future sister-in-law have arrived.
(A week in the life is a blog series I'm writing to share what a normal week in the life of this pastor looks like. I serve as the Minister of Discipleship and Mission at King Avenue UMC in Columbus, Ohio.) 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A Week in the Life - Thursday

8 a.m. - alarm goes off. I snooze... loaf... linger...

9 a.m. - arrive at office. Thursdays are the day that the UMW sorts for their rummage sale, so I know there is coffee. I open up the office and then head downstairs to "make the rounds" (AKA, small talk over coffee).

9:30 a.m. - I have a blissful day of no appointments, lunches, coffees, meetings. I make good progress on my to-do list. I learned how to better manipulate our database software, but other than that, it is email, brainstorming, reading, studying...

1:30 p.m. - Head home for a little bit. It is a beautiful day, and I'd love to get some extra steps this afternoon. Lola, G (he took a little time off) and I walk the neighborhood. We cross paths with the pastor of the United Methodist Church in our neighborhood. I suspect he's hunting coffee... I can spot an addict a mile away.

5:45 p.m. - TurboKick! My favorite time of the week.

6:35 p.m. - I have to duck out of class early. I have a speaking engagement at 7:30 p.m. to prep for.

7:00 p.m. - Arrive at my speaking engagement... at the nursing home... Please don't laugh. So the drama of the night is that they can't get into the conference room (which limits attendance), and so they'll need to meet in the auditorium. The normal 20 people is now 30. I love it.

7:45 p.m. - By the time relocating the walkers and wheelchairs happens, the 7:30 conversation group gets underway. I'm there to lecture about millenials, the church, and the decline of American religion (their title, not mine). It is great conversation, minus the one person who declares that we (American Christians) are at war with Islam.

8:45 p.m. - Formal conversation ends, and I do the usual dance of meeting people and answering their lingering questions. Highlight though? A 90 year old widower from my previous congregation was there, and he hard charges for me after the talk to brag about his new iPhone. Awesome.

(A week in the life is a blog series I'm writing to share what a normal week in the life of this pastor looks like. I serve as the Minister of Discipleship and Mission at King Avenue UMC in Columbus, Ohio.) 

A Week in the Life - Wednesday

The best kinds of nights are the ones where you come home after a great night completely spent and fall into bed. Hence a blog post about Wednesday on Thursday...

5:00 a.m. - alarm. ouch. 

5:30 a.m. - This zombie arrives at the gym for an hour or so of exercise. My new friend, Max, is also excited. I rack up more than 10,000 steps before 7 a.m.! At the close of the day I only have around 17,500. 

7:20 a.m. - Arrive at the church. I'm waiting for a friend to arrive. We're carpooling to a funeral. In the meantime, I finish folding IHN laundry, and I do what's left of the dishes from campus ministry dinner the night before. Our custodian is the only other person in the building, and we have a quick catch up about the most recent Captain America movie.

8:00 a.m. - on the road for the home town. 

8:20 a.m. - Pitstop for coffee. Thank. God.

9:30 a.m. - Arrive at the small town Baptist church for the funeral of our friend. He was our high school prom king. It may not sound like much, but our class voted for him because he had a rough life battling multiple handicaps and maintaining the most beautiful spirit. On the drive up my friend and I talk about what we expect at the funeral. Unfortunately, we were right. We got to witness some beautiful memories shared, and a family coming together at the loss of their light. We also got, unfortunately, a call to repentance and a reminder of hell. I reflect on my own theology of care around death, and remember the many funerals at which I have had the honor of officiating. 

11:15 a.m. - Friend and I decide we'd rather not stay for the funeral dinner. We opt for meeting my dad for lunch at the local Bob Evans' instead. Hot topic is equal pay for women. He disagrees with me and my friend (both professional women), but we laugh it off. 

2:00 p.m. - Arrive back at the office. Things on my to-do list are: studying my monologue ("His compassion-could I forget? *sit; to Jesus, humbled* Is it I?"), returning a few emails, continuing (starting over) the required book I'm supposed to be reading, and outlining a presentation for tomorrow night.

3:15 p.m. - A friend calls. She serves in a church in Kansas, working in middle school youth ministry (God bless her). This is the second time this week that she's consulted on me for a disciplinary question. This time she's pondering confirmation and professions of faith. Her colleague, also a friend of mine, laughs that I am the go-to person for questions of United Methodist Discipline. We have a really great conversation about the role of the church in nurturing young people. We even talk about our theology of baptism. 

4:00 p.m. - Senior pastor has a question about Max (pedometer). We troubleshoot and have a mini computer tutorial. I also take the opportunity to remind him that I have more steps than him. 

4:30 p.m. - Head home for the evening. 

5:00 p.m. - Decide to walk up to downtown from home to get more steps. I have a night without a church commitment, so I'm going out with my "fit fam" (AKA, friends from the gym). It is nice to see everyone in "normal" clothes. I think we look quite attractive when we're not sweaty. We have drinks and play video games at a barcade, head to dinner where G and I give everyone a tutorial on poutine, and then decide afterward that we need cake. We wrap up the evening at our favorite spot in town.
(A week in the life is a blog series I'm writing to share what a normal week in the life of this pastor looks like. I serve as the Minister of Discipleship and Mission at King Avenue UMC in Columbus, Ohio.) 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A Week in the Life - Tuesday

4:30 a.m. - Alarm goes off... wishful thinking. I was hoping I'd get to the gym early today. I opt to sleep a little more.

6:00 a.m. - Alarm goes off again. I get up this time and make myself presentable. 

6:45 a.m. - Arrive at church and hunt coffee before our sermon starter Bible study. I'm not preaching this Sunday, so I get to just participate. It is a great study, except I inadvertently derail the conversation... whoops... 

8:00 a.m. - Head upstairs to grab the laundry from our week of hosting with the Interfaith Hospitality Network.

8:10 a.m. - Straighten up my desk. After Sunday it is usually a disaster. 

8:20 a.m. - Return and archive emails. 

8:45ish a.m. - On today's list is wedding stuff.  I type send scripture suggestions and some vow options to couple 1 (July wedding). I finalize the liturgy for a couple 2 (May wedding), and look over ecumenical prayers for couple 3 (July wedding... my brother-in-law). Spend some time in prayer for a lot of people I know who will be getting married.

I remember I need to go fold laundry. No matter how many times I watch it on youtube.com, I'll never be able to fold a fitted sheet... 

10 a.m. - Weekly check in with my supervising pastor. Today's meeting is mostly casual and consists of me setting up his pedometer (read yesterday's blog post). 

10:30 a.m. - Spend some time reading a required book for a conference I'll be attending in a few weeks.

11:30 a.m. - Get so hungry I break into my lunch early. Study my monologue for Maundy Thursday drama. I'm Philip!

1:00 p.m. - Head to the gym. I go for a run and struggle with my new pedometer. Remind myself that I've been living a healthy lifestyle for two years, so a pedometer won't break me! 

3:00 p.m. - Coffee meeting with pastors who are in a similar appointment as me. At 4:00 our "ring leader" shows up.

4:30 p.m. - Coffee check-in officially ends, and I linger to have another conversation with said "ring leader." He's a valued colleague, and we pack so much into that ten minutes standing outside Panera.

4:45 p.m. - I've lingered too long, and now I rush through the grocery shopping to feed our college small group. Tonight we're having a salad bar. Usually I have more "fun" food, but I personally can't handle a night of bad for me food. 

6:00 p.m. - Arrive at church to set out dinner. Can't find can opener in the church kitchen. Sheesh... 

6:30 p.m. - Students arrive. We spend a half an hour catching up. They ask me which is more stressful in the life of a pastor, Christmas or Easter? I ponder. I answer "Advent." 

7:00 p.m. - Spend the hour on session 4 of Living the Questions: Painting the Stars. These students are smart cookies. 

8:00 p.m. - Wrap up and clean up. I've forgotten to turn on the dishwasher to heat up, so I guess I'll do the dishes tomorrow... 

8:15 p.m. - Run a few errands before home. 
(A week in the life is a blog series I'm writing to share what a normal week in the life of this pastor looks like. I serve as the Minister of Discipleship and Mission at King Avenue UMC in Columbus, Ohio.) 

Monday, April 7, 2014

A Week in the Life - Monday

Monday is one of my days off. Days. Plural. Pastors, if you're reading this you should be taking two!

Anyway (steps off of soap box)... 

9:00 a.m. - Out of bed. I'd lay there longer, but the hounds desperately need fed. 

10:00 a.m. - Depart on a long walk with my older dog, Lola. We enjoy a stroll through the neighborhood and only manage to get rained on for the last four blocks. 

Other activities of the day include: sorting mail, folding laundry, trying to rent a car (customer service left something to be desired), a trip to the library, reading blogs... 

2:00 p.m. - Meet friends for coffee. This turns into a bit of work talk, but I don't mind. Mid-conversation, however, I get a phone call from a number I don't know. I answer (which is out of character for me). I shouldn't have. I ended up on the phone for 15 minutes, not able to be attentive to my friends... live and learn, I guess. 

3:45 p.m. - Arrive home to get the mail. My new pedometer has arrived. Our household is joining many clergy in the West Ohio Conference in a health tracking system. We've been living quite the healthy lifestyle for the last few years, but a new challenge always spices things up! 

5:45 p.m. - The favorite part of my Monday... TurboKick at the gym! So. Many. Burpees. 

7:45 p.m. - Home for dinner and relaxing. 

(A week in the life is a blog series I'm writing to share what a normal week in the life of this pastor looks like. I serve as the Minister of Discipleship and Mission at King Avenue UMC in Columbus, Ohio.) 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

A Week in the Life - Sunday

Urban legend is that pastors only work one hour a week. I find that hysterical, as does probably every person to ever work in a church. 

4:40 a.m. - Alarm goes off. I had meant to get up early enough to re-write the last paragraph of my sermon. I don't much care for what I have written.

4:56 a.m. - Wake up, resolve to stay awake, and read PostSecret. It is a Sunday morning ritual, of sorts. 

5:10 a.m. - Fire up the computer. Re-read sermon, make a few edits (left the last paragraph alone, for the most part), upload to dropbox, and make sure that file opens on my tablet.

5:40 a.m. - Begin to get ready. This particular Sunday includes putting on my clerical collar. The clergy staff at King Avenue United Methodist Church (KA) has taken this on as our collective Lenten Discipline. 

6:40 a.m. - Arrive at church. I check on the family that is experiencing homelessness that KA has been hosting for the week through the interfaith hospitality network. J, a 4 year old, flies down the stairs to hug me. Mom is not happy to be awake yet. I can't say that I blame her. 

7:00 a.m. - Hunt coffee. Am successful. 

7:10 a.m. - Pre-worship touch base with KA pastors. We divide up announcements, double check details of the order of worship, and usually catch up about what we did on Saturday night. 

7:40 a.m. - Head down the the worship space. Greet ushers, top off coffee, check in on Foursquare (I'm the mayor... gotta protect my domain). J finds Chris, our music director, and gets a behind the scenes tour of the drum set and tambourine. J is adorable, and has now hugged every single person in the worship space.

8:00 a.m. - Early risers worship begins. I'm preaching. I don't particularly love my sermon, but I always love presiding at communion. 

8:45 a.m. - Early risers worship concludes and we make transitions for Morning Blend service. I switch from coffee to water. Pastor John corrects a few of the details that I spaced on during announcements. They're correct the next time. 

9:15 a.m. - Morning Blend worship begins. Sermon is better this time, but communion is still the highlight. 

10:00 a.m. - Head upstairs to drop off stuff, recoup before next worship service, and touch base with a few folks. There's a meeting I'm supposed to be in, but a pastoral care follow-up arises. 

11:00 a.m. - Traditional worship begins. For most of this service I get to sit and enjoy worship while my awesome colleagues lead. Linda and John are such incredible Pastors. I see them both get emotional at a particularly moving moment in our congregation's life. I do head up serving communion at the "back" station. 

12:00 p.m. - Worship ends. I try to get to my noon meeting as promptly as I can. I am so thankful that the lay leader of this group is always thoughtful enough to bring snacks. Communion wasn't enough to keep my stomach from growling until then.

12:40 p.m. - Wrap up my mission leads meeting. I quickly head over to drama practice for Maundy Thursday. I get to play the part of Philip. I don't have my monologue memorized, but I'm working on it! I take a moment to be thankful for the leadership of the laity in my congregation. Some of them have been at church as long as I have today!

1:30 p.m. - Walking out of church with my partner. He's lucky that I have restraint. I was so hungry I could have eaten his arm off.

2:30 p.m. - After snarfing Chipotle, I head to the gym. I bang out a rough mile run, then hit the elliptical for a bit. Sunday workouts are usually short, but I'm glad that I got it done.

4:30 p.m. - Head back to church for our healing service. It is my first time at KA's Lenten Healing service. Before the prelude, I quickly run upstairs to make sure the room is set for our IHN family to stay for their final night. I always know we only get to host them for a week, but I've so enjoyed getting to know these women. 

6:00 p.m. - After a moving service (and having communion for the 4th time), I head to dinner. G and I have decided that we'll hit one of our favorite eateries in the Short North. I'm still wearing my clerical collar. This isn't a usual thing for me, so I'm surprised when I sit down and the server says, "What's with the priest get-up?" We laugh it off, but I can tell he's a little embarrassed. I'm a little uncomfortable with the attention that the collar attracts. Does that ever go away? This is my 5th year serving as clergy, but I can count the times I've worn my collar outside the church on one hand. 

7:30 p.m. - Nope. Walking through the aisle's at Kroger I'm still getting looks. I'll claim that I'm probably over-analyzing. 

8:30 p.m. - Home. Stretchy pants on, collar off. Long day. 

9:30 p.m. - Engage in my favorite Sunday night ritual: turn off the alarm for Monday. A blissful Sabbath awaits.. 

(A week in the life is a blog series I'm writing to share what a normal week in the life of this pastor looks like. I serve as the Minister of Discipleship and Mission at King Avenue UMC in Columbus, Ohio.)