Ministry work hours 8: The Value of Counting Hours

As the previous blogs in the series have stressed, I’m not persuaded that work-per-hour thinking is the best way of thinking about ministry work.

But I do think there is a place for keeping a timesheet and counting hours. Here are just some of the benefits of this secondary grid for evaluating our ministry work:

  1. It forces us to see what we really actually do. Just the very act of measuring things normally makes us better at using them.

  2. It helps us budget our time better. When you realise how much time is lost in meetings, or how much time is spent on the sermon - or how little - you can make some more strategic decisions.

  3. It helps you budget time longer term too: when you add up how much time something takes, you can work out how you might re-distribute that time. Often when we stop things we just let other things expand to fill the vacuum, or we just take on things mindlessly. It might be better to proactively replace that thing.

  4. It helps us say ‘No’. It is easier to say No to new requests, projects or appointments if you see that you literally have no more time available. To say Yes would require you to get rid of something else.

  5. It can help others in your life: your wife my feel you are working too much, but when you have an objective timesheet, this may turn out to be merely her subjective impression… or it may be accurate and help her persuade you to slow down!

  6. It helps you see patterns of busy seasons, quiet seasons, unproductive seasons.

  7. It holds you accountable to work and to rest.

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