IT’S ALWAYS FULL TIME EVEN THOUGH IT’S PART TIME.
To be a small church pastor is to be engaged intimately with the people, the physical plant, the administration, and whatever else happens to come up.
My first church was a mission church (it would be called a church plant today) where I served as the interim pastor. I preached twice on Sundays and then went home. The leadership of the mission and its baptist association took care of everything else. I did little in the way of true pastoral ministry other than preaching. It was an affirming experience for a young man just entering the ministry.
Later I was called to be the pastor of a rural congregation, part-time. The job description didn’t mention several things. The church wasn’t large enough to afford a secretary so my wife and I took care of the church office, the bulletins, the administration of the mail, the records, and other odds and ends. I was asked to mow the church lawn for an additional fee every week. I was glad to help out. Our family also participated in the cleaning duties which rotated through the congregation each month.
When there was a maintenance emergency I was the point man since I lived on the property. I vividly remember learning that I was a little claustrophobic while crawling through cold mud under the flooring to repair a broken pipe. All of this was happening at the same time I was in seminary studying for my Master’s degree.
Now I know what you are thinking. I should have engaged more people to do all these “extra” jobs. The problem with that scenario is that the congregation was older and many of the younger families had disengaged. There wasn’t a pool of talented young willing people to immediately draw from. Every small church pastor knows the score. He has to navigate in shallow waters with a very limited crew.
This was the ministry the Lord called me to. I didn’t mind showing my people what following Christ looked like. If you are unwilling to serve the Lord full time even though the church by-laws say part-time; you shouldn’t be a small church pastor.