We are not good for very much on Sunday nights. Our church service is Sunday evening, and after spending most of the weekend preparing, thinking about it, and then doing it--we are toast by Sunday night. But in a good way. So on Sunday nights, we get KFC and let the kids eat in front of the TV, put 'em to bed, Jason has a glass of wine, I eat chocolate, and we totally veg out.
I was thinking tonight as we were settling in that there are a few random things about the life of a pastor that some people might not know. I certainly didn't until we took this job about 4 years ago!
- For one thing, in a church our size, the pastor of the church is also usually the janitor of the church! We have a stellar team of volunteers, but tonight like most nights, Jason stayed behind to help them take out the trash, clean up, and make sure everything was locked up. One of Jason's first jobs after we got married was cleaning our church in Dallas. Our pastor at the time told Jason that if he wanted to be a pastor one day, then being a church janitor was great training. And you know what? He was absolutely right. Learning to see the little details no one else notices, understanding how much effort goes into seemingly simple events and tasks, and serving others. Not to mention a heaping helping of humility!
- The day after preaching or holding a service is usually kind of a down day. I don't know if teachers or others who speak publicly experience this, but there is kind of a let down that happens. You build yourself up for something, and when it's over there's a bit of an emotional and physical lull. When you speak, especially about spiritual things, you put yourself out there. You feel a bit vulnerable. Plus, you're just plain tired. Monday mornings, I have a mother's group that I take the kids to. It's a group a friend and I started a few years ago, and there are some mornings that it is such a challenge just to get up and out the door! I don't mean that I'm depressed or anything, just a little flat, I think. I've heard lots of other pastors say this as well. Ha! Don't I sound like a Garfield cartoon or something?
- With that in mind, we are usually not ready to hear constructive feedback on the service or the message until at least Tuesday afternoon! When I preach, I ask Jason after how he thought it went, and I always cringe a little bit. It's not that I don't want and need to hear feedback, it's just that whole emotional lull thing happenin'.
So for those who are churchgoers, go easy on your pastor at the beginning of the week! He or she is probably a bit out of it.
We love what we do, and it's a privilege to get to do it full time! But it is a different kind of life, one in which the "professional" and "personal" circles completely overlap. Your good friends are also your congregation. The ones you hang out and go to the movies with are also the ones you counsel. And the work day is definitely not a straightforward 9 to 5.
Tonight, the kids and I were driving home from church and I was telling Ava a story from the Old Testament about a priest. (Yes, all our car conversations are about the Old Testament. That, or trying to guess who would beat who in a fight: a tiger or an alien. But usually we just talk about poo.) I was trying to explain what a priest is, and I told her, "A priest was a man who stayed at the Temple, and taught people about God. Like what Daddy does." And she said, "And like you, Mom. I like that you guys are the pastors." It was so interesting to me that she knew that that's what we do. We've never really explained it to her like that in so many words. I hope that she's able to still say that in ten years' time!
Yeah, well. Fried. Gotta go to bed. Be sweet to each other and keep it chill.