Once upon a time, when pastors were more like other professionals, pastors attempted to maintain a presence in the church office from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. You know, like normal people do. Except, well, nothing about the pastor’s work is normal. Most of the work that we do as pastors is not sitting behind a desk. Pastors instead set up their offices by besides, in living rooms and porches. We rarely set up a laptop or even take out a pen. Instead, we listen. We ask questions about life and God.
Pastors roll up their sleeves beside other church volunteers to serve in soup kitchens and food banks. They build relationships with agencies that the church recognizes to be where Jesus calls them. They drink lots of coffee — and rarely find time to be a presence in the office. Or, at least, that’s how it has been for me.
I find that most my ministry happens outside of the church building. Sure, I lead worship on Sunday in the various sacred spaces of the church I serve. But, the real work of ministry — the feeding and loving for Jesus — happens in hospital rooms and sidewalks and coffee shops. So, I want to be up front about this as I begin my new call. I want to admit the simple truth that church doesn’t usually happen when we are in the building which I did by establishing office hours. Two of those four hours are traditional. They happen in the church office on Monday afternoons from 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm. The other two hours are spent at a coffee shop down the street so that church members on their lunch break can come visit. But even more importantly, so other members of the community see me hanging out, sipping a latte and reading the Bible. I chose that time so that people don’t just see me as that weird girl that’s always at the church — but as someone that they could talk to about life and maybe even God.
With these four hours committed to my schedule, I know that there are church people that can find me if and when they need to during the week — but I’m not promising to be in the church office all of the time. Instead, I hope to do what Jesus calls us all to do. To go out and love the world.