Church Staff, Don’t Waste Your 9 to 5!
It took me six years to get a four-year degree in youth ministry. I really earned that degree. I got the most out of the money I spent (I kid, I kid). After College I went to seminary and received a Masters in Divinity. This time, I got a three-year degree in two years. I had to make up for some lost time.
I remember my first job after graduation. I had a lot of education for ministry – and yet I didn’t have a fat clue how to do a funeral, wedding, run a staff meeting, oversee a budget or think strategically. But I sure could preach a fantastic sermon.
What did a pay for in my education? Theology… mostly.
When I first started full time ministry I remember staring blankly at my computer screen wondering what do I do with my time? I’ve worked at multiple churches and not once was I taught how to do the job I was hired for. I enjoyed the freedom, but I lacked the understanding to know what I needed to get done.
I filled my time with planning events because it gave me something to do. Other times I allowed others needs to dictate how I spent my time. I spent a lot of time putting out other people fires. I enjoy helping people, but the issue is that I wasn’t teaching them to put out their own fires.
I was working in ministry, but I rarely worked on the ministry. I did a bunch of stuff, but rarely did I spend time working on strategically making the ministry better. Being busy doesn’t mean we are productive.
I wanted more than that. I wanted to know that my 9 to 5 in the office is truly making a difference. I wanted to leave each week feeling energized because of what I’ve accomplished. Can you relate?
How to get the most of your 9 to 5 on Church staff
The key to getting the most out of your 9 to 5 is to find your sweet spot. That is, you want to spend most of your time working on the things that you do best.
A little phrase I’ve adopted is “work on what I do best and delegate the rest.’
Things that I am not good at still need to get done. I cannot ignore them, but it doesn’t mean that I have to do it all. Whether you are a church planter, student pastor, church staff or lead pastor you can apply this.
Six years ago, when I planted the church I’m pastoring, I had no one. No staff, no money, and no one to listen to me whine. Quickly, I found people to come along side me who I could delegate some of the responsibility to. For almost two years we had a full-time volunteer admin, a full-time volunteer kids director and other various part-time volunteers.
I began to invest in others and empower leaders. I started book clubs. I met with people who have potential and we would go through a strategic book together. I taught them to lead and own what they are good at.
I knew what I did best. No one was coming to my church because of my admin skills. No one was coming because of my singing. Preaching is the best thing I bring to my church. I still over see other things. I still have to make sure other things are getting done, but my church is at its best when I work on what I am best at.
To help ensure I work on what I can only do, I plan out my schedule around what I do best and delegate the rest.
It’s not that I am above doing admin work or getting my hands dirty. There are times where I jump in and help others in areas I’m not great at – however, I typically have to fire myself when I do this.
Often pastors think they have to function like a swiss army knife. That is, they feel like they have to be able to do it all. That is a lie. It’s actually counter to how God created you. God intentionally left out some of the spiritual gifts, so you would have to rely on others. There is someone who loves to do what you hate doing. Find them. Recruit them. And then empower them to do the work of ministry. Then do only what you can do.