Let me begin this entry by saying that I am not like all pastors, so what I am about to say is true only about me. You will have to ask other pastors how this question applies to them.
With that disclaimer out-of-the-way, here goes:
What is your Saturday preparations when you have Saturday services at 5pm?
My church, Grace Family Church, has been doing Saturday night services for almost all of its history. Other than the first year and the three stint where we rented out a 7th Day Adventist Church, we have been in Saturday night services. One of the questions that is rarely asked is what do you do on Saturday morning. Sometimes, I wonder if people think we just arrive at church a little ahead of the congregation and just “do” the church service. Truthfully, we spend a lot of prep time during the week to prepare all the facets of a weekend service – adult worship, adult teaching, children’s worship, children’s teaching, preschool curriculum prep, trainings, and overall preparation for First Impressions, parking, greeting, ushers, connect 2, the bookstore, and even our Starbucks. It is an amazing group of staff and volunteers who come together to make a weekend service at GFC work. When people are using their gifts and talents – it is impressive and humbling to watch as God takes our talents to another level and people get to accept Christ and grow in their relationship with Him.
What does a pastor do to prepare? Again, I am a non speaking pastor so it might surprise you to know that I actually have a pre service ritual that I go through most Saturdays. I treat it like a “work day” which means I will have a highly structured morning. I will get up and have my own devotional time, I will update my Twitter with a verse and a leadership thought and then I will do my morning reading of the news. Then I will go do something active – ride my bike, go to a fitness class or go for a walk. This is a good thing – it actually takes some energy out of me. My adrenaline pumps for weekend services – sounds crazy, I know. I can’t wait to see what God is going to do with all the preparations that have been done and how they impact people’s lives. After the workout, I will go home and clean up and relax by reading, doing some stuff around the house or watching some football. I eat lunch around 1 pm, which is significant because I have a hard time eating while I am at church. I will usually grab a protein bar between services but will not eat lots of food. I have tried and just can’t. (Are you picking up on all the weird idiosyncrasies – there are a bunch of them.)
I am at church around 3 pm. It is totally on me – I have to be there early enough to walk the campus. My maintenance guys are awesome – they work so hard to present a clean and inviting campus when the people arrive. I will go to all the buildings and ministry areas and just look around and touch chairs. It is what I do. I try to talk to ministry leaders in the children’s’ areas and make sure they are good to go. (They always are!) Then I walk into the sanctuary and talk to the sound team and check to make sure the air/ heat is on. This is because one time the air wasn’t on and it was discovered too late. (Never again.) Then I go to my office and get my notes for he services – yep, I have notes even when I am not speaking. One of the coolest things that I started do a long time ago is meet with Pastor Craig before the service. I am very grateful that he allows this to happen. He is so prepared that we can talk for about 15 minutes just catching up on our weekends and what we did. It is a special connection and one that I cherish very much. Then, we review the service and then it is game time. When I leave the room, I am in service mode and the rest is pretty much “whatever is needed, I am ready to do.”
This is my life in ministry and it may sound a little nutty. I think it is but I won’t change it – I am having too much fun!