Monday, February 3, 2014

How do you thrive in a multi-role staff position?

I was sitting in a seminary class with an adjunct professor. It was the first day of this class and I love classes with adjunct professor especially ones who are currently serving in a position at a church. Regardless of whether the instructor was and adjunct or a “bonafide” seminary professor the first day of every class was the same. The instructor would allow each of the students in the class to talk about who they were, about their family, and their current position at a church (if they were serving). In Matthew 23: 12 its says, “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (ESV). This passage of scripture seemed to be totally irrelevant during the time. Students would talk about their families and the amazing ministries they served at. I am naturally cynical and I fight hard to battle this weakness in my life but during this particular day I must have been weak. As I heard people describing their roles and their incredible ministries you would have thought that each of these students was serving at the height of their ministry. I became more and more annoyed at what seemed to become more of an ego trip than an opportunity for us to get to know each other.

Then it was my turn. Let me lay a foundation here. I love my church and I love the position I hold at my church. We average around 415 each Sunday which, as I see it, is a healthy size. The biggest issue we have is that our church struggles with giving.  Our giving is approximately half what most churches our size take in. As a result, we only have two full time pastoral staff positions, the senior pastor, and me. I hold the title of Families and Media Pastor, which basically means I am responsible for all age group ministries and a lot of the administrative needs of the church.

It was my turn, so I turned in my chair and addressed the class. Told them about my family and simply said my job title and where I served. Then the instructor said something sarcastic about my title and asked me to explain what I actually did at the church. Well I did, in great detail and without any semblance of humility. After what seemed like 5 minutes of explanation the instructor looked at me and said to the class, “This is a perfect example of someone whose ministry will never be successful because he is doing too much.” I turned around, did not refute him, and did whatever I could not to show how insulted I was.

The truth is we all wear lots of hats when serving on staff at a church. One moment we have our counseling hat on, then next we put on an I.T. hat as we fix the computer that handles our Sunday media, finally we put on our theologian hat as we prepare our messages and so much more. For pastors who serve bi-vocationally this reality is even more real. Our success in ministry has less to do with our titles and what hat we wear and more to do with how we are honoring God with our lives and are we putting up appropriate boundaries to make sure we are not being pulled to thin.

I am committed to becoming a minister that honors God with the way I serve my family, and my church. At the same time I don't want to neglect my own personal spiritual development. I constantly have to evaluate myself to make sure that the different hats I wear serving the church don't keep me from the most important hat, my relationship with God and my family.

So I guess the question is, what are you doing in your ministry to thrive despite how many hats are hanging on your wall?


  1. You are doing a great job and we do not tell you that enough. Your ministry is successful beyond what you see and you have your priorities straight (God and Family) regardless of how many hats you wear. But you are right to take time to grow your own faith too, you and June do so much for the rest of us. Thankyou!! We're blesses to have you at CRBC.