A Week in the Life

We preacher-types have heard it a thousand times: “You only have to work three hours a week!”

If only.

Bouncing off a statement produced by my previous blog, I thought I would share with you the past week or so in my life.

  • I was asked to be in the room with a family as they removed their loved one from a breathing ventilator. He died peacefully within twenty minutes.
  • I sat with a family as their loved one underwent surgery.
  • I was called to counsel a brother (not from our culture) in the hospital who was refusing to have a medical procedure because he “trusted God, not man.”
  • I visited a young man in another hospital who- while passing through- was involved in a terrible multi-car pile up on foggy I-10.
  • I was asked to rush to another hospital to check on an elder from another city who had been air-lifted in because of stroke symptoms.
  • I dealt with the after-math of the death of a homeless woman on our church property.
  • I met with a lady from a community faith-based organization about our potential partnership in using a house on our church property as a residence for a work-release program for non-violent prisoners.
  • I had a Bible study with a potential new member of our church.
  • I visited with two church members in their homes.
  • I met with our elders, our elders, deacons and ministry leaders, our benevolence task force and our worship committee.
  • I ate well. I enjoyed a luncheon with our Young at Heart group, a breakfast with our benevolence task force, a Valentine dinner with our Young Family group, our Sunday Hospitality meal and a good lunch with a friend and brother.
  • I preached on Sunday morning, taught a Share Group on Sunday night and taught my Wednesday night Bible class.
  • And I have not even mentioned the time put in studying for these lessons and the study for my schoolwork.

This is not even an unusual week. It is just more adventures in preaching- and even though I can get weary at times- I would not want to live my life any other way.

Just a week in the life.

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12 Responses to A Week in the Life

  1. clyde s. says:

    So…you’re saying that took more than three hours? 🙂

    What is bad is that I once had an elder discount the three hours on Sunday saying that I should consider it fully work because “you’d be going to church anyway.” So you might not even get credit for the three!

    But I am sure you feel the same way I do: I work for God. What I do for people made in his image I do not do primarily to be appreciated by men, but so that the Master will be pleased (Lk. 17:10 is one of my faves). Ministry is messy. But that’s okay.

    Still, I hope some from your congregation read your post and enter your world a little, as you’ve entered theirs. Great post.

  2. jim miller says:

    What an honor to touch so many lives. You are the bomb! Don’t forget taking care of a wife and children (wasn’t a b’day in there?). I think ministers are the most underappreciated people in society. Thank each of you.

  3. mark says:

    And school teachers only work a few hours a day get their summers off! I know, I am married to one, and she is married to a preacher….so we have nothing but alot of empty time to fill…..guess maybe I will go tan, wanna look good for those three hours.

  4. Royce says:

    So what do you do in your spare time? I mean when you aren’t eating, driving, and sleeping?

    I hope you have some help from others in your church.

    Royce

  5. dannydodd says:

    lol Mark. Sounds like you have it made! 😉

    Royce, I do have help- an elder on staff and three other full-time ministers.

    Thank you Jim.

    I appreciate your words and your work, Clyde.

  6. Jim Sexton says:

    In the past week alone I got to:
    Take someone home from the hospital emergency room who had no ride. Did I mention that it was midnight when I got the call?

    Answer the doorbell at 12:30 to talk to a homeless man that I am working with as he needed someone to keep him from drinking that night. I was the lucky winner! We talked on my porch until quarter to 2… in the morning that is.

    Went to the local jail to sign out a friends son. Won’t get into the violation, but he is lucky I didn’t drop him off at the nearest stop when I found out what he was arrested for. Also after midnight BTW.

    Sat with a man at the nursing home who has family that can’t be bothered with him. 5 hours.

    Took somebody from the area to the hospital in Asheville, NC so that he could visit his cousin before the man underwent heart surgery. Oh yeah, it is about a 75 mile trip one way…

    I worked in the ‘real world’ for most of my adult life and never worked so hard as I do now in this ministry that I love. Since you asked (you know you want to) I have never loved anything as much as I do this work.

    Never.

    Plus I play fantasy baseball with other n’er do well ministers to pass the time…

    Jimbo

  7. benoverby says:

    Danny, I stand and applaud your willingness to serve.

    OK, now for something a bit less politically correct. We can agree that ministers work hard. Well, some do and some don’t (just as is the case in any other vocation). But let me get underneath and argue against some assumptions about the role of a minister. I don’t understand why “ministers” are constantly called to the hospitals or are expected to jump out of bed at all hours of the night to rush to hospitals or bail people out of jail. I’m quite certain that without the title “minister” the same people wouldn’t be called nor would they feel particularly inclined to respond. Ministers fit into a predefined, official role often explicitly carved out in contracts or job descriptions. And it’s no mystery why there’s a tendency to love the work. It’s empowering to be the “go to” guy, the one guy that everyone wants front and center during a crisis (sickness, death, etc.). We live by grace and ministers are given tons of it as a result of—not just who they are— but their official role within the congregation. That’s a fact which has been emotionally and psychologically devastating to untold numbers of ministers. The equivalent in other groups goes by the title “priest” or “reverend”—the person who marries and buries, prays over and blesses events, and is the symbol of the church in dialogue with the greater community.

    What if you were freed up to serve the community as an evangelist rather than a modern-day priest? What if your role was to do everything in your power by God’s grace to develop disciples, converting people out of old Adam and into the new, establishing house churches (maybe satellite groups) throughout the community, to write contributions for the newspaper (gospel oriented), to lead others into oppressed areas in an effort to serve and bring some justice into the world, etc., etc. What if the elders had you preach a sermon on Mt. 28.19, 1 Tim 4.6ff, and Ja 5.14? What if the church was retrained to call the elders to the hospital so that you’re left to get some rest in order to focus on the God-given task of an evangelist—studying until it hurts so that you can go into houses and refute the destructive gospels of this world (see 1 and 2 Timothy), proclaiming Jesus as resurrected in and around our modern day Mars Hills, and any number of things which might actually be risky?

    I wonder if the decline of the churches of Christ isn’t related to something uncomplicated: it no longer feels compelled to produce evangelists (except as missionaries). Rather it’s adopted the worldview of the religious world by forcing world-be evangelists into the role of priests while expecting them to do, by proxy, the work of elders. Churches need to be honest about what their vision is for a minister. The body has parts, but ministers who are perhaps hands, are expected to do the work of the feet, the nose, the eyes, and the lips. Therefore, the body fits in with all the other deformed bodies, but it would look very strange in a world full of healthy bodies. If this is restoration it’s strange indeed. If I take my junked car to a shop for restoration, I don’t expect to receive it back looking like all the other cars piled in the junk yard. Have we really restored anything at all?

  8. Trey Morgan says:

    Not bad for a guy who only works one day a week! 🙂

  9. rossblog says:

    Hi Danny, I appreciate you having me on your blogroll (as you are on mine). I have a new URL that I wanted to share with you: http://bobbyrossjr.com

    Thanks,
    Bobby

  10. Benoverby has an interesting concept. What if evangelists could make disciples, while elders would shepherd and oversee and deacons would deak? Would the church be better off than it is today????? One thing is sure. I would love to be able to see it at least once in my lifetime!

  11. Frank says:

    Ben beat me to it. This description of “a week in the life” illustrates the schizophrenia of the Churches of Christ when it comes to the work of the preacher. When asked, the more knowledgable folks in the pew will describe the preacher’s work in terms of a ministry of the Word (teacher, evangelist, etc). But when times of crisis come, what they want is for the preacher to function in a priestly role.

    But this is natural. If there’s a person in the church who has sacramental presence outside the building, it is the man who is responsible for the church’s sacrament of the Word inside the building. People don’t reflect on this reality, but they certainly react to it. When I was a 25-year-old preacher, I didn’t get this. And I was frustrated.

    Ben’s right. Coming straight out of the Word, a congregation can be put on notice that this is not what the preacher is there for. I can guarantee that megachurches don’t have pulpit preachers who go back and forth between the hospital and the funeral home. Remember, Jesus was criticized for not being there when somebody died. There was something more important that needed to happen.

  12. Mike says:

    Just passing by.Btw, you website have great content!

    _________________________________
    Making Money $150 An Hour

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