Paul Cumin
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“You’re a pastor?”

The expression on the face asking this question is usually a blend of confusion and pain.


Awkward pause.

“You mean, like, a priest?”

Sometimes instead of priest it’ll be “minister” or “preacher” or “church guy thingy”?


When this conversation occurs in Pemberton it usually leads directly to another question:

“Is that, like, full-time? Or do you have another [real] job, too?”

It is a mysterious vocation, no doubt about it, and for many reasons (one of which I’ve addressed here). After more than twenty years in this line of work, almost half of which have been here, it seems to me the question most people really want to ask – churchy people and non- – is this:

“What do you do all day?”

One of the things this pastor has done with a day recently is tried to answer this question (this took between four and six hours). Another thing this pastor has done recently was attempt to compare this answer to his job description using pie charts in PowerPoint – this took between four and six thousand hours.

[See Figure 1 "Proportion of time, comparison"]

Most of this should be self-explanatory. “Prayer,” for example, refers to the time I spend praying. “Preaching,” on the other hand also includes getting ready to preach – which, incidentally, is not the same as “Study,” a category that is maybe a cross between professional development and spiritual discipline. “Presence” is a bit vague; it covers everything from casual encouragement to intentional “counseling” (that’s in quotation marks because I’m not a professional counselor and because my wife thinks it’s funny that I would do marriage counseling.) “Leadership” is about all the meetings and, because I don’t know where else to put it, the administration.

[See Figure 2 "Pastor Paul's Work-week (hours, 2014)"]

A few things to notice from this graph: 1. Mondays = holy ground. 2. An average day can be between 5-14 hours so, yeah, not much average about it. 3. By holy ground I mean call me if you’re dying or whatever but otherwise maybe wait till Tuesday.

Hopefully all this helps answer that question you’ve been wanting to ask.


Feel free to download the whole report by clicking the link below.