By: Jeff Patton

When was the last time someone said that to you?   Most of the stupid jokes I hear directed at pastors refer to the short work week (20 minutes on Sunday) and how easy it is to stand up each week and put people to sleep.

Reality is far different and most (99%) of the pastors I have ever met, work way too much.   I routinely run into people who work 100+ hours a week.

Recently I had a discussion with a professor who studies the ratio between productivity and hours.   He told me that somewhere around 28 hours, productivity begins to go down.   That after 55 hours, productivity reverses and the returns diminish or go into the negative.  I asked him what he thought about a person who works 60-100 hours a week.  His reply was startling.  He said, “that person has to work that hard because that person is doing everything so poorly that it requires that many hours to even see any affect.”

Sure, we all know the stories about Edison and Einstein…no sleep for days, working 100’s of hours each week…but frankly not many of us are wired like that.

And yes, there is a lot of work to accomplish, no matter the size of your congregation.   Jesus kept busy with 12 close followers.  I imagine you could keep busy with 12 people who had a passion for the mission/purpose and who determined to “seek and save the lost”.   I imagine you could keep a lot busier trying to play pastor fetch for 50 or 100, or even 250.  But somewhere around 100 people in worship you soon realize the “pastor centered model” won’t work.  Somewhere around 100 people you start to work longer hours, and, like a wheel stuck in mud, you spin faster and faster and you get nowhere.

See Seth Godin Small is the Next Big, if you want to learn more about working differently.