This is a question that is dealt with for the lifetime of a pastor. I will explore and try to answer the question from this pastors perspective. Keep in mind that every person is different and people have different priorities;
#1. As I started to type this On My Day Off, I just took a call from a church member who has a need. Great Example of what happens in the life of a pastor on a regular basis. It is part of the nature of what we do and I am not complaining at all, just to show you what we do.
#2. As a pastor I have a great need just as you do to keep my relationship with God CLOSE. This is no different from the lay person, we both need to stay close to God and walk and talk with Him every day. I have a habit of walking and praying (prayer walks) several days a week I will walk at least 2 miles and during that entire time I am praying, talking and listening to God. That way there are no distractions. Many times I will take my blackberry to record thoughts, and amny times I will get messages from others about things people need prayer for. I read almost every day, either directly from the Bible or from other books that share scripture and insights. Currently I am reading “Fearless” by Max Lucado and I highly recommend this book. I will be blogging a review of sorts about the book soon as I am just about finish.
#3. Pastors have a family. I have a wife and 4 awesome boys. Michael is 24, Kyke is 10, Samuel is 2, and Judah is 15 weeks. As a pastor who is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week I really have to work at being with my family in quality and quantity time. Many times I have meetings that last until after my boys have gone to bed at night. On those days I try to be at home in the mornings while the boys are awake and we can play. However with Kyle being in school it is difficult. My family is close, my mom and dad, Michael our oldest son, my two nephews, Kevin and Dustin all live next door to each other. We make it a priority to be together often. One or two days a week we will have dinner together as the larger family and almost every night our immediate family has dinner together. We have 2 grandchildren, Christopher and Victoria and 3 Nephews who live close by as well. On a good night we will work with Kyle doing his homework an hour but on an average night it is much longer.
#4. Taking care of myself mentally and physically. I try to run on a regular basis. I average between 4 and 7 miles three to four days a week. Sometimes more, sometimes less. I try to eat well and drink lots of water, however it is hard eating on the run so much. My day started yesterday at 7:30am with speaking for FCA at the high school. I was able to have lunch with my wife and two youngest children in town and then meetings from 1pm to 6pm. At that point I went to Out of the Box for our youth meeting and left to come home at almost 9pm.
#5. For the past 4 years I have been a full time Seminary student. Enough said! However, even after obtaining a Masters Degree and Pastor can never stop the learning process. In order to minister to people in their need, we have to stay current with general issues as well as continual study of Scripture. Preaching professors tell us that a pastor should spend one hour in study and preparation for every minute that he or she intends to speak. I speak for an average of 25 minutes on Sunday night and then another 25 minutes for Youth Bible Study study on Wednesday night. Throw in 15 minutes for FCA, 20 minutes for camp vespers, 75 minutes for a District Discipleship Day. That amounts to many more hours than is humanly possible. However I have to make and find time to study.
#6. By the way, I just fielded the second phone call since starting this blog. Again, I am not complaining, it is a part of the Call that has been placed on my life. Also, it was not a phone call that I could just let it go to voice mail and answer it tomorrow.
#7. I just had to deal with an issue regarding the Carroll County Ministerial Association which I serve as the treasurer.
#8. I could go on all day with this blog and what a pastor does with his or her time but I need to go play with my kids, it is my day off.