Recently, the Pastoral Team and the Chair of our Open Door Churches Board, Vickie Plasker, sent out a letter with all kinds of news about what’s happening among the congregations of the Open Door Churches (ODC). Among the things we discussed were the members of the New Pastoral Team, the Solar Project, our good fortune in receiving financial assistance through the Paycheck Protection Plan passed by the U.S. Congress in the spring. If you want to read the full letter, you can click here.
All of this, of course, was to help the people of the ODC feel more connected in a time when we are separated from one another in so many significant ways.
The fact is, however, that you may still not feel as if you know that much about your new pastors and what exactly it is that we are doing with our time. I’d like to share with you some thoughts about what “a week in the life” of Pastor John looks like. 😊 Hold on … it’s a fast ride!
Sunday: The Lord’s Day! Centered around worship, of course, each Sunday morning at 10:00. Before worship, I try to center myself, catch up on some reading, and spend a little time responding to messages I may have missed over the weekend. The pandemic has also afforded me something I’ve never had before—time on Sunday morning to “drop in” to visit worship with other congregations. Afternoons often include meetings or work on sermons or other projects, as well as some time devoted to family.
Monday: As a person who is often thinking big picture, starting the “work week” with time to orient myself is important. I’m trying to re-establish a pattern I had in Texas of looking at my schedule for the week and sharing with staff and key leaders what I expect the week to look like. So far, Mondays are looking good for this kind of work, as well as sermon work and some focused time to move along on longer-term projects. More often than not, I will be attending an administrative committee meeting with one of our churches.
Tuesday: This is a full-court press of meetings! Some Tuesdays (like this week!), it starts as early as 7:30 AM and doesn’t really stop until almost 9:00 PM. The Pastoral Team has a standing weekly meeting for planning and analysis each Tuesday at 1:00.
Wednesday: Mornings typically include check-in with the administrative professionals at our various churches, either in person or via Zoom. Afternoons are focused on Worship—a final review of my message for Sunday, followed by recording the elements of worship I’m responsible for leading. If I don’t have an administrative meeting, I often make time for a visit with some members of our faith community.
Thursday: This has become “wrap-up” day … Another weekly standing meeting with the Pastoral Team in the morning, lots of reading and responding to email messages, some more check-in work with our churches, and often a meeting in the evening. Since Thursday is “my Friday,” I am typically focused on family after 5:00, if I don’t have a meeting.
Friday-Saturday: As you might guess, it’s difficult to leave this kind of work behind. And often I just can’t. Still, I do a reasonably good job of spending some time “re-creating” on my days off—time with family and friends; almost weekly a good, long hike; a round of golf once a month or so; chores and projects at home; plenty of exploring; sometimes a chance to use my new grill!
And, then, it starts all over again … It’s challenging—right now I’m spending 1-2 hours each day doing nothing but reading and responding to email! But I am really invigorated by the work and the thought it requires to fit all the pieces together. There are some important daily things that help me keep fresh—an evening “walkabout” with our dog, Mia, and lots of chances for conversation with my wife, Rona. And, of course, new friendships with many of you.
Have I told you lately how fortunate I feel to be part of all this? 😊
Grace and peace,
Pastor John Fleming