I’ve been a SAHM for a little over six months now, and I have not only survived but maybe even thrived. One of the interesting aspects of my life is talking to friends and colleagues who knew me before I had this job and who may have never expected that I would leave the world of outside-the-house-work (especially work that I loved so much) to stay at home. One of the questions I am asked regularly is “Do you miss preaching every week?”
The answer is a resounding “No.” I loved preaching. I loved everything about it. I loved choosing the text to use. I loved studying the text and reading commentaries. I loved struggling with the scripture and discerning the “good news” that I was going to share from that scripture. I loved the feeling of my finger flying across the keys as I typed, so aware of the presence of the Holy Spirit in the preparation of the sermon. I even loved it when I struggled, wondering what it was that I was supposed to say and whether anyone was going to get anything out of this drivel that I had written (ironically, those are the sermons that seem to get the most positive feedback).
But I don’t miss doing it every week. It’s too much. And the difficulty of being a sole pastor is that you don’t get a break from the weekly preaching unless you plan well in advance. And sometimes that’s more difficult that preparing the sermon.
On the other hand, I’d love the chance to do it again every once in awhile. Joseph Sprague, retired bishop from the Northern Illinois Conference, wrote wonderful book called Affirmations of a Dissenter. Among other things he gave some guidelines to pastors who want to take their calling seriously. He suggested that pastors spend 50% of their time—50%!—in study time each week. Half of a pastor’s week should be spent studying—preparing for sermons and bible studies and reading theological texts unrelated to sermon and Bible study preparation.
As a sole pastor such was nearly impossible, despite the fact that I would have loved to meet that goal. There were too many other tasks to tend to—administration, visitation, meetings, the list goes on and on.
Now that I have time to read, however, I understand his suggestion. I feel like I would be more prepared to preach now than I ever was because I actually have the time to read and study. Ironic, isn’t it, that that time is available only now when I no longer have that responsibility.
Do I miss it? No. Would I like another shot? Someday. I still have more to read.