Coping With the “Part-Time Perception”: Part 4

Last time, we talked about the third way a pastor can shatter the ‘part-time’ stereotype without compromise.

Today, we’re going to discuss strategies that can help a bivocational minister create an atmosphere of effective communication.

No matter what stage a ministry or church is in, one of the key common denominators to effective functionality is communication.

Without communication, even the grandest of visions ultimately fade.

I mean…think about it. Without dialogue…without intentional engagement both in-church and out, it’s only a matter of time before disconnection sets in.

Perhaps some of you know what it’s like to have a God-given dream loaded with potential turn into a pumpkin without warning or what it’s like to lead a group of people plagued by disunity. While experiences vary, chances are somewhere along the way…there was a communicational breakdown.

So clearly, communication is imperative when we talk about sustaining vision and maintaining mission.

And when we talk about a church mixed with full-time and part-time staff members, it’s fair to say the challenge only increases.

Consider the open road. We would all agree when it comes to driving on the interstate, the most ideal setup is all cars moving at the same rate of speed and direction. When everyone is driving in harmony, people arrive to their destinations on time.

untitled3However, when traffic enters the picture, everything changes. Imagine a three-lane interstate with a car accident blocking the left two lanes of traffic. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know this will slow things down due to bottlenecking. Suddenly, you have different lanes operating at different speeds, with cars in the far right hand lane moving fast initially, before having to slow down to allow traffic to merge from the left lanes.

It’s the same way with communication. When church leaders aren’t on the same page, when the vision isn’t being shared or communicated equally among its members, then functionality will become impaired…and a church’s effectiveness will slow down.

Let’s discuss some practical communicational strategies a bivocational minister (or any minister for that matter) can utilize.

* Listen & stay alert. Often times, information comes at us from multiple sources in multiple directions. And at times, it can be overwhelming trying to stay caught up to speed; however, if you want to become a better communicator, you must become a better listener. When you allow yourself to be the living embodiment of Matthew 11:15, you essentially increase your awareness.

* Establish a communicational pathway: Whether you work for an elder-run or pastor-led church, it’s essential to know not just how to communicate, but who to communicate to. By sticking to a set communicational roadmap, you enhance not only the communication itself, but also the accountability needed to see it through to fruition.

* Utilize multiple outlets. It’s been said before, but I’ll say it again. Learning to use websites and social media isn’t just a good idea; it’s a must. Nowadays, there are so many apps that can be tapped into for organization. As a bivocational leader, chances are you’re exposed to resources on a regular basis that your full time counterparts can benefit from. Take a look at the communication avenues you utilize for work and in your personal life – you may just find a diamond in the rough.

*Encourage, encourage, encourage. Regardless of your name or title, there’s never a bad time to encourage. Often times, encouragement is the best means of communication. I’m all about healthy project systems and living out efficient communicational strategies, but without encouragement, you risk diluting the vision.

*Stand at the door and knock. When you’re bivocational or part-time, being persistent in seeking out the information you need and making your voice heard will go a long way. By being faithful to speak up at the right times, you allow yourself to stay connected to the vision, while also inspiring others to stay engaged.

The Good, Bad & Awesome of 2014

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When you think back on 2014, what immediately comes to mind?

LF: I really think 2014 was marked by clearing hurdles. The theme of mountains and valleys was huge. There were highs and lows, but the amazing thing is that every low was immediately followed by an awesome high. Overall, it was a good year with its fair share of challenges.

CF:  I agree. To me, it was a “back to the drawing board” kind of year. Plenty of fine-tuning. If I had to sum the year up in two words, I’d go with “successfully conquered”.

What were some of the highlights/defining moments?

Screen Shot 2015-01-04 at 10.03.30 PMLF: The first thing that comes to mind is getting published on ‘Darling’ magazine’s website. It was a poem I wrote for my mom for Mother’s Day and it was exciting to share that. Also, seeing the youth engage in worship and leading by example, especially during November’s Wednesday Worship Experience, was amazing. Oh, and our one-year anniversary trip to Chicago…

CF: Yeah, our travels to Chicago and St. Louis were pretty epic. I’d say graduating with my Master’s in Education a couple weeks ago was a highlight, though if I had to choose one in particular, I’d go with LEGACYouth reaching a new level in its ministry this summer. It’s been exciting to lead such an awesome group of students during a watershed year. No doubt, it’s going to be even more amazing in 2015 as God continues to lead us in developing the worship culture.

How would you compare the sophomore and freshman years of marriage?

LF: I feel like we hit a pretty good groove this year…much more in balance. The first year featured a lot of learning. I feel like we click more. We laugh more. We cry more…but it’s with each other rather than ‘because of each other’. I also feel like we have become better friends and as a result, better partners. We anchor and support each other and it is a joy to operate that way.

CF: Amen. I feel like our emotional unity has helped us press through some hard times. Overall, I think we understand and compliment each other more. We’re not as afraid to be vulnerable and transparent…and that, in turn, has enhanced our relationship. Everything feels more settled now. The honeymoon year was pretty sweet, but I think the second year has been even sweeter!

What lesson from 2014 are you eager to apply in 2015?

LF: There’s a difference between motivation and determination. You can be determined to complete something or apply yourself even when you don’t have the motivation. All too often this year, I held back because I didn’t “feel” like doing something. But that is not a scalable philosophy. Determination and dedication will take us so much farther than “feeling motivated” ever will. I feel like this applies to multiple areas in my life right now.

CF: Word. I’ve felt this on the work front a couple times this year. Even when you feel out of place…and your drive is splintered, you can thrive by allowing God to breathe faithfulness into your pursuit of excellence. On a more personal note, I’ve learned, at least to a higher degree, the positive consequences of trusting God while feeling alone/disconnected (relationally outside of marriage)…when wrestling with fading strongholds…and when setting boundaries, whether in ministry or with finances and time management.

What do you hope you’ll be saying at this time next year?

LF: The dedication is paying off. The query letters have been sent. Only three months to go until we’re debt-free. We’re expecting.  I think those are the big ones.

16449_10100287050750132_1109098363311312523_nCF: I second these. I’ll also add: What a successful first year of His Girl Fryday (cough, cough), what an effective year serving The Gate Community Church as a new Messenger Fellowship associate…and what a thrilling year seeking fresh leads on a new career pathway. Oh…and I’m hungrier for God and His ways like never before and thus, ending my third decade of living on the highest possible note.

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2014 – By the Numbers

  • Estimated miles driven: 27,586
  • Deep Fry blog posts: 52
  • His Girl Fryday blog posts: 16
  • Fall 2014 GPA: 4.0 (clinching Magna Cum Laude Honors)
  • Snowchased Snow Amounts: 17.4″
  • Miles run (Cameron): 674