What does a pastor, minister, vicar do?


'Daddy what do you do?' Something my eldest daughter who is now at high school asked me over Christmas. I guess in her developing social world, needing to know what I do for a living, and how to obfuscate that in discussion with her friends is probably becoming an important issue.

I started by telling her what I tell other people when they show a genuine interest in finding out about my job (rather than when I make up stuff for the people with the condescending questions that insinuate that all I do is drink coffee, pray and read my bible.)

I have several jobs:

Business Management: The church is a charitable company, like a business it needs managing, and overseeing, with company law, employment issues, management reports etc. I have a business background, and at present part of my job is to oversee this and I report to the church trustees. (My daughter is glazing over, but trying to look like she understands, so I say think of it like a company and daddy makes sure it runs ok, and manages the law and money side of it, and the trustees are his bosses.)

Staff Team Management: I manage the staff team, their personal development, reviews, training, coaching, and line management over roles and goals and activities. (I try to explain this one to my daughter as, daddy takes care of the people who work for the church, and helps them with the jobs they have).

Preaching/Teaching/Training: I speak and train and coach individuals and groups in the church (Daddy speaks and meets with people a lot to help them learn and grow, like your teachers).

Pastoral care: I oversee the pastoral care, in particular I take care of directly serious pastoral cases, hospital visits, funerals, conflicts (daddy helps people who are having a hard time, and need caring for).

Community Action: Misc Community action. I initiate and oversee the set up of our community projects, and people developing them, and things like the town centre chaplaincy and community chaplaincy we are trying to start this year (daddy meets people in town and and around the place helping them to know and be in contact with the church for help and care).

Travel/Teaching: I get to lecture, speak, write, teach and train outside our church (daddy travels to help other pastors/vicars/churches learn about being christians and being church).

After all that, she'll probably say 'my dad runs a church', if she wants to admit it. BTW this is not an apologetic for my role, a statement of the nature a purpose of pastor ministry and is not offered as an exemplar of pastor-hood :-)

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