Church Jobs: 10 Ways To Keep Them
By: Vanderbloemen March 20, 2012
Getting fired is embarrassing and can hurt your future career plans. We stay away from the obvious “big things” that can get us in trouble: stealing, lying, having inappropriate relationships, but what about the more subtle issues? These seemingly small things over time, can add up to a pink slip. Inspired by an article by Kelly Eggers, here are ten things to avoid doing so you can ensure you’re safe in your job.
1. Don’t Take Advantage of Sick Time. If you have a fever or are contagious, by all means, please stay home. Not only are you setting a poor example by coming in sick, you’re likely to infect the masses with your illness. However, sometimes we feel as if we need a “mental health” day. If this is the case, and you really do need a break, instead of faking some other sickness, be honest with your supervisor. Not only will you be getting the time off you need, you may be able to address any underlying issues of why you’re stressed to begin with.
2. Don’t Gloss Up the Truth. Focusing on your strengths when you first apply for a job is expected, but fight the temptation to lie by omitting something important or exaggerating something in hopes for a more favorable interview. These things have a way of catching up with us: the world of ministry is a small place.
3. Don’t Take Advantage of the Situation. Often in ministry, some of the professional nuances of the corporate world fade away. A more casual dress style included. While you may think the stocking cap you’ve been wearing for three days straight shows you’re somehow trendy, your coworkers may think otherwise. Be clean. Be professional. It doesn’t necessarily mean you need to wear a suit and tie, but be thoughtful in how you represent yourself, and your ministry.
4. Don’t Stay Out of the Spotlight. Some of our jobs keep us on stage or in the public eye, but does that mean your team sees you? Working extra hours may be helpful, but unless you’re contributing to your team in an intentional manner, they may not know what you’re worth. Be present with those you serve with and don’t be afraid to speak up if it’s your style to stay quiet most of the time.
5. Don’t be Unwilling to Bend. Compromise is key. With so many gift mixes, creative styles, and leadership leanings, ministry is a hodge-podge of ideas (and let’s just admit it, sometimes egos!) Approaching things with the mindset of learning something will show you’re flexible and willing to do what’s right for the team, even if it isn’t your way of doing something.
6. Don’t Forget to Say Thank You. You may be comfortable in your job, and perhaps even invaluable. Don’t let the thought that you’re irreplaceable make you entitled. You’re serving not because of your own doing, but because of the grace of God, plain and simple. How he works in the lives of others and how he shows up in your ministry is a result of him guiding you. Observe how others are playing roles in this narrative and don’t forget to be grateful.
7. Don’t Be Disrespectful. No matter what position you may be in, there’s likely structure and accountability surrounding you. The larger the organization, the chances that your ideals don’t mesh with those leading you also increase. It’s okay to not agree with everything, but to openly show disrespect to the leaders ahead of you is an almost certain way of working your way out of a job. If the issues are overtly concerning, follow the plan in place and humbly approach the disagreement in a Biblical way.
8. Don’t Be Guilty by Association. Although you may not be the one complaining, are you spending time with the ones who are? All organizations, even churches or ministries, have a group of people who will never be satisfied and are the vocal minority. If you’re looped into their argumentative spirit, you may be guilty by association.
9. Don’t Play Dumb. When something goes wrong and it’s your fault, or it comes back to being under your charge, own up to your mistake. Passing the blame or pretending as if nothing happened will only cause more tension. Your team and superiors will trust you less. Instead, as soon as you can, admit your mistake and offer valuable suggestions on how to remedy the situation.
10. Don’t Take Credit for Others’ Work. Sometimes you see another ministry offering a service or sharing a great idea. Maybe your pastor hasn’t seen it yet. Or perhaps a volunteer on your team has a brilliant suggestion. In situations where the idea can’t be traced back to an original source, it’s easy for us to want to take credit. However, shining the light on someone else’s genius will get you much further down the road than pretending the idea was your own. Great ideas need environments to thrive in, and you’re responsible for cultivating that space – not stripping it bare.