Preaching is important. It’s a huge part of being a pastor. But it’s not the only thing we do. Indeed–there are many associate pastors who may do very little preaching over the course of a year.

So, what do we do all week?

My youngest says, “Daddy pushes buttons in his office.”

Of course, he’s referring to my computer–I don’t think he’s old enough to grasp the other meaning of “pushing buttons.”

My particular role oversees Adult Programing. Our church has lots of specialized programs that are designed to promote Christian growth. We have Small Groups–folks meeting in homes praying for one another, caring for one another, studying the Scripture together. We have Women’s Ministries, Men’s Ministries, Hospitality Ministries, Adult Christian Education Ministries, College Ministry, Local Community Care Ministries, etc. These ministries require leadership, communication, fiscal oversight, recruiting, etc.

We also provide pastoral counseling services–these are not the same as what you might experience in a clinical counseling situation. Rather, it’s Spiritual Advising and Care. In my role, this includes a lot of mentoring college students, and helping couples prepare for marriage.

Pastoral Care extends to hospital and home visitation and collaboration with community services to help the poor.

We officiate baptisms, weddings, and funerals–mourning with those who are mourning, and rejoicing with those who are rejoicing.

Interestingly, the perception that pastors are mainly preachers creates a misconception not only in the minds of church folks, but of people who are considering going into the ministry. My Church History professor, John Hannah, was acutely aware that many of the students in his classes were operating under the assumption that they were at seminary to become preachers. He regularly reminded his students that pastoral ministry was far broader than the pulpit. Wise words.

“We have been called not to be [merely] preachers, but pastors. Pastors can always preach, but preachers can’t always pastor.”

John D. Hannah