The varied hats a pastor wears

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A pastor does more than preach on Sunday mornings. In fact, that’s one thing you should be careful saying to your pastor.

We work throughout the week as well, wearing many varied hats. That may be something you forgot about us pastors. If preaching were all we did, our job would be easy.

image credit: Flickr user Small_Realm

I don’t preach every week, but the weeks that I get the opportunity (though I relish it), I’m completely swamped. None of my other responsibilities go away…it’s just a matter of tacking on 20-25 hours of prep time.

I often counsel folks who are sensing a call to ministry. Their idea of full-time ministry is that you get to have a “quiet time” for a couple of hours in the morning, take a long lunch where you meet with friends, drink coffee all afternoon, and go home by 4:00. They think that ministry is easy.

Trying to paint an accurate picture of the day-to-day life of a pastor is difficult, because there are so many different tasks that we are expected to complete. Though seminary was great, and I benefited from it tremendously, it didn’t prepare me for the gamut of roles I’ve found myself in. My title may be “small groups pastor,” but my job description extends well beyond that.

I’m sure that things are no different for you.

 The Varying Hats a Pastor Wears

  • Preacher
  • Counselor
  • Leader
  • Financial planner
  • Designer
  • Project manager
  • Entrepreneur
  • Videographer
  • Supervisor
  • Volunteer coordinator
  • Theologian
  • Receptionist
  • Greeter
  • Webmaster
  • Community activist
  • Writer
  • Recruiter
  • Life coach
  • Shipping department coordinator
  • Strategist
  • Social media-ite
  • Dreamer
  • Student
  • Disciplinarian
  • Teacher
  • Social activist
  • Events specialist
  • Chaplain
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CMO
  • CFO
  • Operations management
  • Janitor
  • Salesman
  • Communications specialist

Did I leave anything out, that you do or that you’ve seen other pastors do?



Christ follower, husband, father, writer, small groups pastor at Saddleback Community Church. Communications director for the Small Group Network.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Doug robinson

    Take out all those things that are high tech. Add husband, father, evangelist, janitor, construction supervisor, peace maker, writer, worship planner, taxi driver, builder, landscape artist, purchaseing agent, time manager, cook, and sometimes doormat and you can go back in time a few years.  Nothing has really changed we just name it different.  I’m so glad the message is still the same. A pastor who lets his mind dwell on all he has to do will face burn-out. But if he awakes everyday excited that his call has come from God alone, makes sure that his wife and kids know that he loves them more than anything else on earth, honors God in  his walk, loves his church and they know it, and regularly confirms creation with a fishin pole and can of worms is a happy preacher and serves with joy. 

    • Ben Reed

      Good stuff, Doug. I’m sure you didn’t have to manage a lot of tech stuff when you were leading the charge. But you’re right…names are different, but responsibilities have been largely unchanged for pastors.

      Love that I get to serve with you, Doug!

  • Jason Wert

    I know this might sound weird but I’d add “example”.

    • Ben Reed

      I like it, Jason.

  • Jack Larwa

    Maintenance man.

    • Ben Reed


  • John

    Sorry, I couldn’t help but think of a scene from my
    favorite movie, Barbershop.  

    Cedric the Entertainer reminds us that a
    barbers is “a counselor. He was a fashion expert. A style
    coach. Pimp. Just general all-around hustler.”   Oh, the life of a pastor…barber.  

    Stay blessed…john

    • Ben Reed

      Hmm…as long as you don’t add “pimp” to the list of pastoral duties, I’m good with that. :)

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