How Many Hours Should You Work?

We continue the Sophos segment on time management. See my first answer here.

Question #2: "I think a lot of guilt is brought onto those in ministry with thoughts of, 'Am I working enough?' What are some reasonable expectations for hours worked per week for someone in ministry?"

My Answer: In ministry, it is very difficult to even differentiate "work" hours from non-working hours. Almost everything you do comprises ministry, so when are you not working? That being said, I think it is incredibly important to disengage, to find out what renews you, and to spend time with people you love just hanging out.

Mark Beeson often says, "There are three parts to every day. You should work really hard for two of them, and take the third one off." That's not always practical, of course, and we tend to work in spurts. We sprint for awhile, then rest, then sprint, then rest. That's okay, as long as you are resting adequately between the sprints. But the essence of the Beesonism is right on--make sure you aren't working 24/7.

This also has to do with your phase of life. Several years ago I didn't have four little ones at home, and I could work a 60-hour week and still be balanced at home. Today that isn't true. In order to be a leader of integrity--I have to lead as well at home and in my personal relationships as I do in my professional role.

Pay attention to your body. Don't let your emotional or physical or spiritual tanks run dry. Get people around you who can wave the red flag before you go too far down the out-of-balance path.

That's all I can say now...I'm going home.

For a highlight and summary of this question offered to great Christian leaders around the world visit SOPHOS.

Tim StevensComment