How much should a minister work? Part II

A little while ago I wrote a blog about some of the problems related to managing your levels of work in ministry.  Like many jobs, ministry for a church is never-ending.  More unusually you don't have a manager as such, you don't have even notional "working hours" and even defining what is work and what isn't is rather difficult.

I finished up suggesting that one way to investigate the problems is to consider some of the solutions or models that are put forward.  Let me start with an increasingly popular one.  As ministry is increasingly "professionalized," it is not unusual to have some sort of contract with some sort of specification of work.

For example in the Church of England we now have something called Common Tenure, which means that there are some terms under which I work.  Interestingly, my work time is actually specified in terms of rest rather than work.  I am "entitled to an uninterrupted rest period of 24 hours in each period of seven days," plus an annual leave (with some restrictions on Sundays off!) and bank holiday allowance.  Read the other way around I have a 6 day working week, 45 weeks a year.  I guess something like that isn't unusual.  Perhaps others might add a number of hours to work (e.g. 6x8=48 hours).

Let me observe some pros and cons here.

- It takes the Biblical concept of rest pretty seriously including Sabbath (in the sense of one day in seven).
- It takes the Biblical concept of working hard pretty seriously.
- It gives some guidelines to work in, especially if a number of hours is included.  It should be clear if you are regularly over-working or under-working.

- It doesn't help much at all with defining work.  This can be a real problem either in knowing how many hours you've worked, or if you have actually had a rest from work.
- Linked to the above, I suspect the big risk is that the 24 hours rest is spent doing the washing, cleaning, gardening, decorating etc.  And chunks of the holidays are spent catching up with that sort of stuff too.
- While it's a useful rule of thumb.  Actual hours, days and weeks don't always work out so straightforwardly, because that's what ministry is like.  How often does the day of get spannered for some totally justifiable reason etc.?

I use this approach (I'm under Common Tenure!).  But I think it needs some modification.

We'll consider another approach next time.


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