The Pastor’s Day Off: Monday? Friday? Another day?

Over the years, I’ve talked with pastors about the importance of taking a day off (though I’m still learning to do that myself. . . see "Ten Signs You May Need a Day Off"). I’ve been interested in learning what day pastors take off, and I’ve learned that many take off Monday or Friday. Here is some of their reasoning:

Taking Monday off:

  1. “I need a rest from the weekend.” Sundays are tiring, and it’s good to get a break. 
  2. “It gives me needed time to be with my family.” That’s especially the case after a busy weekend with the church family. 
  3. “I need a day to debrief the weekend.” That matters the most when the church is struggling, and the pastor needs a day to get beyond the difficulties. 
  4. “The day off helps me not to worry as much about attendance and giving numbers.” Spending time doing something he enjoys doing gives a pastor a new perspective. 
  5. “Monday’s filled with follow up stuff from Sunday that a staff can usually handle.” That is, the pastor’s presence in the office on Monday may not be as critical. 

Taking Friday off:

  1. “I’m going to be thinking about church anyway on Monday, so it makes sense to work that day.” Many pastors will be reviewing Sunday no matter what they’re doing on Monday. Friday as the day off makes more sense. 
  2.  “I need a day of rest to get ready for the weekend.” Saturday is final review time, and Sunday will be busy – so rest is good. 
  3. “It forces me to get my sermon done early in the week.” That way, the pastor can truly have a day off toward the end of the week. 
  4. “It allows me occasionally to take two days in a row off.” At least with this schedule, a pastor can make an overnight trip with his family and be back for Sunday. 
  5. “Other staff members take Friday off, too, so it’s tougher to schedule meetings, etc.” It’s practically more helpful to be in the office when others are there – and that’s not usually Friday.  

Pastors, what day do you take off? What are your reasons for choosing that day?  

6 Comments

  • Bill Pitcher says:

    My situation is part-time. My schedule evolved into Monday being a workday. I have a group of men I meet with from 9 AM to 11 AM for Bible study and find that the time I have with these guys energizes me for the rest of the week. Tuesday and Wednesday are work days for sermon prep. I try to keep Thursday, Friday and Saturday for personal/family time. (Note that I *try* to do that. It’s not always successful.)

  • Sean says:

    First, I’m a 43 year old full-time senior pastor. In the past, I have been a staff pastor, church planter and been bi-vocational for a season. I’ve taken Fridays off for some time. There are several reasons for that. I’m typically not as emotionally spent by the weekend. So, my family gets the best of me. I get more time with my kids, as they have more days off of school on Friday. The church gets a more refreshed me on Sunday. Sunday is the start of my week, rather than the end of it. Lastly, I found that in our community, many church offices were closed on Friday, and we had an inordinate amount of interruptions and requests just because we were open. This caused me to switch from Thursday to Friday.
    Long ago, I received a great piece of advice from another pastor. He said that if the Sunday church work is what wore you down, then recovery should be done on “church time.” Your family shouldn’t get a worn out husband/dad. Structure Monday to do things that bring energy, refresh, etc. Read, pray, get lunch or coffee, whatever it takes.

  • Mike Hickman says:

    I used to take Fridays off but soon realized I couldn’t disengage from the sermon prep easily. A pastor friend suggested I switch to Monday and it has worked much better for me. I can truly walk away from all that took place on Sunday for a mental and physical break and the next Sunday is far enough away that I do not feel pressured to think about the upcoming sermon. I can spend the next 3 days meeting with staff and church members as well as studying, and then thoroughly enjoy the quiet day on Friday as other staff are off to wrap up my sermon prep and get ready for Sunday. Saturday is family time and it’s another good mental break before Sunday! If I need the extra time on Friday and Saturday for an out-of-town trip I will switch my day off, but this is the schedule that works best for me overall.

  • Josh says:

    I would lean toward Friday as a day off. As a young believer, I can remember always having questions about what I had heard taught and preached on Sunday. So, Monday morning I was eager to talk to my pastor. Unfortunately, Monday was his day off. I don’t want to miss those conversations with my folks.

  • Jeff Noffsinger says:

    When I was taking off on Monday things seemed to be going well for the most part. However, there was one week that on a Tuesday there was a unexpected death. Wednesday was an emergency surgery for one of our church leaders, & on Thursday there was an accident that required a church member to be life-flighted to a hospital a few hours away. My days through Friday were spent in a funeral home & hospitals all week. I woke up on Saturday with neither my Sunday morning or Sunday evening message prepared. If I’d only began studying on Monday I’d have been in much better shape. Now, I am in the office on Monday morning preparing (and often times finishing) my outline prep for the following Sunday morning. Tuesday’s I’m preparing (and often times finishing) my Sunday night outline. By taking off on Friday I can sometimes have 2 days off before beginning my Sunday-Thursday work week.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.