The other day I wondered whether ministers know what a Saturday late evening looks like? Are most in bed by 9PM? The pragmatics of working in a church means you pack it in nice and early for work the next day. Our Monday is really Sunday.

I work every other Sunday for a single service that starts at 11AM. I’m certainly aware I can’t paint the town red Saturday night on Sunday’s I work. I remember a time when I worked multiple services every week. Saturday evenings ended early; all in preparation to care for Christians on Sunday.

Earlier this week I noted the trend in most churches–Christians hanging out exclusively with other Christians. I had a brief lament about church workers and how the culture of overworking essentially eats any conceivable time to live mission beyond the confines of the church walls.

There’s something startling with the employment culture in churches. From rogue expectations like the “tithe of time“, to deeper implications that impact how we participate in God’s restoration mission, there’s an implicit and damaging assumption that church workers can and should spend 100% of their time caring for Christians.

Here’s the flawed idea.

There’s a notion that if church ministers care for the flock with all their time, it releases the congregations to do mission. But here’s the catch, congregations expect the ministers to be doing mission while they sit and pay for the work of the church. On and on the cycle goes while nothing really catalyzes outside the confines of the church community.

If you work for a church then chances are you have to be present for Sunday service(s) week in and week out, 52 services a year except for holidays, if you decide to take them. This invariably means that in order to do your Sunday job, there’s no late nights hanging out with other friends or neighbors.

Unfortunately, Saturday night is when people who don’t go to church come out to play. You can’t model mission as a leader if you’re not even available for relationship. Makes you wonder where our priorities are.