Not every Pastor has the same routines on a Sunday morning, so I guess the title of this blog should have been “A Peek Into This Pastor’s Sunday Morning …”. But no matter who the pastor is there are some things that are similar for every pastor. I have refined my routines over the years and this is what it looks like today.
My alarm goes off between 4:30 and 4:45 on Sunday mornings. Many Sundays I wake up before my alarm goes off and I just get up then. At this point I begin the getting ready for the day process. Usually this includes making a cup of coffee with our Keurig. I feel obligated to give a huge nod of approval to Keurig coffee makers. Before we had a Keurig I didn’t have a cup of coffee until I got to church and would make a pot. Now I can make a cup and really start to get going early.
I arrive at church anywhere from 5:00 to 5:20. I love this time on Sundays. I am the only one in the building for quite a while. Normally one of the first things I do is make a pot of coffee. What comes next can any one of a few things. I might walk around the building, making sure everything is okay and praying for the people and ministries that will be in those areas. I will check my email and social media at some point. I will do a devotion and have one of several prayer times.
After a while I settle in my office and go over my sermon for that morning. I will usually eat a bagel or English muffin during this time period. I often make a few changes, or add something to the sermon at this time. Then I go into the Sanctuary/Worship Center and run through the sermon. When I run through I actually preach it out loud. I look around the room and picture those who will likely be seated in a certain area. (Many of you sit in the same place every Sunday, so it is easy to envision you during this time. If you think your pastor is preaching directly at you try changing where you sit, it may take your pastor a couple of weeks to find you.) It is not unusual for me to stop and write something on my outline during this run through. Parts of the sermon sound different when you say it out loud.
Why do I do a “dress rehearsal” early Sunday morning? Because it really cements the message in my mind and helps me to not be tied too tightly into looking at my notes. Also, as I mentioned earlier, some things just sound different when you say them out loud than they sounded in my mind when I pounded them out on my keyboard. This also helps me to know the timing of the sermon. I learn how long it should take and any areas that I can easily get bogged down in and need to move through quicker. I pray for the sermon, the service and the congregation during this time.
It is usually a little after 7:30 by now. I may take another walk around the building or settle back into my office. I will often send an email, facebook message or text to a pastor friend at this point to encourage them or let them know that I am praying for them as they preach that day. I will often read a little in a book that is on my current reading list. If I am teaching a Sunday School class at the time, I will go over my lesson for that morning again and make sure my room is ready for the day.
Soon people begin to come in the building, making breakfast, getting their Sunday School room ready or to do a final run through of the music and sound for the worship service. At this point I may begin to drift around the building again checking in on people and seeing if I can help them with anything. I pray for them as I see them or hear them. If everything is going smoothly I go back to my office to pray, make sure my notes are in order and really start to get my game face on, so to speak.
If I am teaching a Sunday School class I get there and greet my students. If I am not currently teaching a class I move around the building seeing how Sunday School is going and listening in on a few classes. I pray for the teachers during this time.
Then it is time to gather everything I need, make sure my mic is in place and working properly. (At my current church a retired pastor comes in my office at this point and prays over me. This is a powerful moment for me.) Then I go out and begin talking with people who are already in their places. I like to move around and speak with several people, it is good time to greet them and to get a feel for the atmosphere of the day. There is usually some point of checking in with the worship leader or sound person. Then we worship.
This is a picture of typical Sunday morning for me. What does yours look like? Any questions on what I do or why I do what I do? I will leave the rest of a typical Sunday for another post someday. Here’s hoping your Sundays are awesome.