Today is Friday, November 28, 2014. It's Black Friday in the United States. As is typical of my days, I rise early (between 5-5:30 AM) to begin my day. I turned on my Macbook Pro, updated the antivirus, opened a new daily note in Evernote where I record my daily activities, gained situational awareness for my day by checking my calendar, and enjoyed time alone with God and journaling.
I read a chapter of Charles Kraughthammer's book "Things That Matter" where I gained a cosmic view of the mortality of life - my life - as I learned about Halley's Comet and the realization that it won't be back this way until 2060. I won't be here to welcome it in the night sky!
Most of my days are spent serving as a local church pastor in a community of saints known as Vantage Pointe. Today our volunteer administrator is in to do the weekly program for Sunday. I will be finishing up the administration not completed yesterday (Thanksgiving Day!) and then will be hard at work on Sunday's message. I also write all the lessons for our Discovery Groups and lead a group myself. Fun!
I have an office at the church but have not always been able to use it: mold is prevalent in these mountain regions and there are days when the smell of this 1970's building is too pungent to work in. The church also had a flood a year ago and I was out of office for quite a few months while repairs were being made. And after a premature departure of staff a few years back, there was no one at the office anyway so I worked at home where the internet is much better and where many of my study books are housed. With the onset of all things digital, I can do most of my work now at home, at a coffee shop, or in a hotel room while traveling. I keep office hours from 9-12 noon Monday, Wednesday-Friday.
I also interact with people a lot: on the phone, through private Facebook communications, through email, and in person at the office or out and about. I don't talk about who I talk/meet with as it's no one's concern but theirs and mine and God's. If I break confidence, my ministry effectiveness will be over.
A pastor's work is never done: living within a few steps of the door of the church makes my wife and I an on-call couple, responding to people at the door all hours of the day and night. We have to get off the property on our Days Off or we'll be working all day. The church is in close proximity to the parsonage and the windows in the parsonage are old and leak not only air but also serve as a non-filter for all the conversations that occur in the parking lot. Hearing voices here does not mean you are crazy, just living or standing next to the parsonage!
My wife works at The Home Depot to help make ends meet financially. I serve a church plant/church restart situation so a raise in pay and or an expense account is not possible. Even paying pension is a major challenge so we celebrate when it can be paid. The Lord takes care of us and will continue to do so, we know!
I manage my life and ministry using the GTD methodology popularized by David Allen. I have 98 projects on the go right now so I always have lots to do when I want to do it. I use Nozbe software by Michael Sliwinski to manage my lists and Evernote houses all my project and reference materials. As of this morning, I have 6632 notes in my system.
In days past, I served in larger churches where administrative staff managed the details of the day-to-day of ministry. But I'm that person now. It's harder and takes more energy to pastor a church of 100 than it does a church of 375. Maybe it's because I'm 53 years old!
I serve with as great staff of three others: a paid Asst. Pastor and two volunteer staff members. All staff are either ordained or have completed the six pack of courses through The Wesleyan Church. I'm responsible for making sure their work is processed and completed and that they have the tools they need to do their best in ministry. I'm much less strict with my team now than I once was (deepest apologies to all former staff members!). Most of the time that's good, but at other times, I guide them in doing what they know they should do to serve well in ministry. I work between 60-70 hours per week on average.
We've moved 6 times since coming to NY from Atlantic Canada in 2007: Halifax to NY, Corinth to Queensbury, Queensbury to Corinth, Corinth to Queensbury, Queensbury to South Glens Falls, and South Glens falls to Queensbury. It's a long story as to why all the moving. Needless to say, it has meant a level of upheaval that's hard to describe in a post like this! :-)
I also serve as District Secretary for the Eastern New York/New England District. This means I record the Minutes at our District Board meetings. We have an awesome DS and administrator in our district.
My youngest daughter and her family live nearby and we LOVE having them near. Our eldest daughter lives with her family in Seattle, WA. We MISS them!
Okay, that's enough for now.