Oh the Joys of Summer Youth Ministry

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Lately I had been feeling guilty for taking my afternoons off from the office. In college it was pounded into my head that a minister should work an average of 55 hours a week so "...no one can complain that you don't work!" I thought that was fair advice and that's what I've done. My wife has continually told me that I "work WAY too much", but have since learned from people much wiser than I that a fair amount is from 45 to 50 hours a week.

So I've felt REALLY guilty about taking off in the afternoons to go home and relax. So I sat down this morning to figure out my official Summer hours between camp, CIY, VBS, etc...and came up that since June 1st, I've worked an average of 52.33 hours a week.

So today at noon I'm going to go home and feel guilty no longer!

I'm curious about the hourly averages of other youth workers. If anyone has any insight into that, I'd surely like to know! While talking with my former youth pastor, he asked me why I put in extra office hours since there were other programs that took up time. I found out that he does what I now do, work from 8am till noon and take the afternoon off to be with his family.

According to Group Magazine:

"The average hours worked per week reported by youth pastors crept up slightly, from 45 to 48. That means your ministry keeps you on the clock much longer than your neighbors. The average workweek across the country is 42 hours. You're basically among the three in 10 American workers who put in at least 49 hours on the job every week. But if you subtract the number of hours spent eating pizza and drinking diet Coke..."

Each church is different. I know there are area churches that require their staff to be in the office till 5pm (ouch!) Some churches require very little official office hours but require much more home visitation and hospital visitation.

So if you are a youth worker (or just happen to have a love OF youth workers...or just like to make comments...I'll take all I can get!) and are able to participate in this discussion, your voice is welcome and appreciated!


meghan said...

Well, I don't work at a church's youth ministry but I am an intern at a para-church youth ministry and I know that many of the staff here work probably around 45 hrs a week and some upwards of 55. One thing that many of them stress though is to leave when it's time to leave. Because, in all reality, if you aren't spending time on yourself and your family there is no way your ministry will be effective and powerful.

All that to say, have a great afternoon off and enjoy yourself! Your students will be better because of it, I'm sure.

Jenna'sMommy said...

i'm proud of you dj. i have always thought that youth ministers are expected to do WAY too much for very little pay. i was just talking to cameron last night about how ministers so easily fall into the trap of putting their ministry above their families because of precisely what you were talking about-- guilt. good for you!!

by the way, how are you guys doing? we miss you.