In a recent post, Landon Whitsitt tells pastors to “Go the F^(% Home.” Landon likes to say that “If you’re working more than 40 hours a week, you’re doing it wrong.”
Anyone who’s worked in a church or another type of ministry before, knows that the 40 hour work week can be an ever-sought-after-but-never-attained reality. Of course, our presbyteries don’t help the matter. My presbytery, Cascades Presbytery, considers 50 hours a week to be the expected norm for a full-time work week. And as we all know, many pastors will work, 50, 60, 70+ hours as week. And we wonder why we experience clergy burnout so often?
This just isn’t healthy. It’s not right. And it doesn’t allow pastors to have lives or spend time with their families.
Landon shared a video that I’ll share below – but realize that depending on where you work, the language may not be safe for work (or home):
I think the question for so many of us in the ministry is how to get away from this model of workaholism. Now, I certainly struggle with this as much as anyone else. It’s very easy for me to come home from a full day of work at church, have dinner, and then sit on the couch with my laptop or iPad replying to church emails and doing a lot of other miscellaneous work-related tasks. I also tend to stay up after Sarah has gone to bed, because “I have more work to do…just a few things I need to take care of before I can go to bed.”
And, like we all know, there will ALWAYS be more work to do. The todo list will NEVER really be complete. And so, we have to learn how to step away from it, prioritize things in our life, and realize that there is more to our lives than our callings to be pastors. If our callings as pastors cause us to neglect and ignore our other callings and relationships in our lives, then something is messed up.
What are your thoughts on this? Why should presbyteries set a 50 hr work week as the standard expectation for pastors? Aren’t we setting up pastors and their families to fail?
In Part 2, I’ll share some thoughts on techniques that we can use to help fight against workaholism and clergy burnout.