So you work at the church you attend. As church communicators we face the complicated task of worshipping at the same place where we work. It can make for some awkward moments.
This has probably happened to you: You’re singing your heart out in worship. Your hands are raised. Your eyes are closed. Then someone taps you on the shoulder. There’s an issue that requires your attention. Something isn’t running perfectly smooth and it turns into a minor emergency that only you can handle.
Or perhaps maybe it’s internal: You’re sitting in the pew listening to the sermon. Halfway through the message you realize you’re not following along because you’ve been critiquing the service.
Or maybe you’re secluded in the control room and as soon as the message starts you disengage. You catch up on social media or step out to wander around.
Being on staff at the church you call home definitely presents some challenges.
Realities of Working in a Church
Here are some things I’ve learned that have helped me navigate these issues:
- I am a Christ-follower before I am my job. This means I am not exempt from the need to be spiritually fed. It includes being intentional about attending church regularly, tithing, serving, discipling people, praying and studying the word daily—things we expect people who attend our churches to do. If you are married and have kids, they need to see you as a child of God more than as a church staff member. And being single or not having kids isn’t an excuse—you still need to take care of yourself spiritually.
- Like anyone in the marketplace who is known as a Christ follower, I am expected to represent the Lord well and do a consistently good job. When I am on the clock, I need to do my job well. This includes staying engaged with what God is doing. This also includes modeling to people of my congregation the posture of worship, submission and application I expect to have when working or attending a church service or event.
- Like any organization, someone has to be available to cover responsibilities. The best way to shift away from the culture of interrupting a staff member’s worship is to have people who can be on call when needed. Establish clear processes and communication about who’s responsible for each position in each service.
How to Build the Right Culture
Culture change takes time. Here are some steps to facilitate that:
- Define the roles and create job descriptions for what you do during services.
- Develop a team. (Need help engaging volunteers?)
- Put a scheduling process in place: Who’s on call and who’s the backup?
- Communicate to key leaders about the assignments and scheduling process.
- And if you get that tap on the shoulder when you are not working (which will happen), simply defer to the system you have in place. Success will come when they get what they need without you. Build the confidence that the system works and they don’t need to always call on you.
I count it as a huge blessing to do what I do. Most members of the tribe I know feel the same way. But I can love my job and my church even more when I’m able to be fully present in both roles.Photo by GLS Site 219