Time is a wonderfully cultural thing. ‘Tomorrow’ can mean anything from tomorrow—the literal meaning—to ‘maybe in two weeks’, depending on what country or area you are.
I’ve lived in Germany for example, and the German reputation for being punctual is well deserved. On the other hand, my sister’s husband is from Uganda, and they have a quite loose interpretation of punctuality and time in general.
That being said, in the church we have our habits as well. Here’s a quick recap on church time equivalents:
- The church service starts at ten. If you’re Baptist, that means it does actually start at ten. If you’re Pentecostal, anyone will be arriving sometime after ten.
- The service lasts 75 minutes. Unless Pastor Jones preaches, in which case it will be about 90 minutes, and feel more like a whole day.
- A short pastoral conversation can last anything between one and three hours.
- When church members ask for a ‘quick talk’ with the pastor, that means unleashing about ten years worth of frustrations. Should take about three hours.
- A church budget meeting (‘an hour, tops!’) means a whole evening and the 5 minute overview the treasurer is supposed to give is rarely under 15 minutes.
- If someone asks you to ‘just help out for an hour or so’, that mean’s you’ll be gone most of the day.
- Beware of ‘task forces’ or ‘focus groups’—we’re talking about weeks and weeks of meetings here.
- We say serving as an elder takes about four hours a week. By that we mean at least 16.
- Of course a ‘job’ in the church in any position means you’ll be doing anything. Including cleaning. And naturally you’ll be working about 60 hours a week. It’s all covered under the ‘all other duties as assigned’ part of your contract.
- And a youth ministry lock in…well, they are forever. Much like eternity.
Any other church time equivalents you could add?
[Image via Sean MacEntee on Flickr, Creative Commons]