Framing the Role: A Guide to Better Workplace (Part 1)

We all know there’s no such thing as the perfect working environment. 

After all, work can’t exist without people and to err is human.

Still, whether you’re a bivocational minister, a supervisor, or an entry-level employee, chances are you care about how positions are developed and managed.

Thus, in the coming months, I want to unpack some basic concepts churches and businesses can use to frame their roles and equip their employees to thrive in them. 

The goal? To help organizations make the best investments with their best hires to achieve the best outcomes. 

Let’s dive in…

  1. Assess the ‘Inner Man’ 

As a bivocational pastor with seven years of marketplace experience, I understand there are certain disadvantages when it comes to large and small scale human resourcing; however, I also believe bureaucracy and growth mismanagement doesn’t have to determine how classifications are managed.  

For example, at my work¹, each classification is linked to a job plan involving a specific set of functions. Fair enough.

The problem is while roles are detailed well in their promotion, they’re overly dependent on ‘template’ in their evolution. As a result, employees feel boxed in with functions forged on title rather than gifting.

My thought is: if more organizations integrate character and gift assessment (i.e. DISC, Myers-Briggs, Strength Finders, enneagram testing, etc.) into hiring, training, and development processes, then more prospects/new hires could contribute the strength of who they are in addition to the strength of what they do.

Granted, big organizations are going to have different priorities. Yet, this doesn’t mean their personnel approach has to be shallow.

‘Cause truth is: while procedure and process are important, you can’t define a person by a job description nor can you separate the quality of a person from the quality of his work.  

I know culturally we love streamlining/over-institutionalizing our way to bottom lines; however, if morale becomes the sacrifice in our quest to hierarchical efficiency, one must question the system.

Whatever our work situation, it’s important we remember our position is a journey, not a drop-off. And while the implications are many, bottom line…

  • Classifications should never compartmentalize what an employee can be (i.e. his innate nature in motion).  
  • A piece of paper or paragraph on a screen should never determine or dictate the totality of function. 
  • Given man gives life to function, not the other way around, the inner man must be considered in both the evaluation of fit and the evolution of role. 

Stay tuned next time when we’ll tackle our next point on equal deeper learning opportunities. In the meantime, if you have a question, idea, or story to share, feel free to comment below.

Footnotes

  1. Note: My appreciation for my workplace has grown considerably in recent months; however, this doesn’t mean I can’t advise from what should be improved.

Cover photo creds: Company Incorporation | Company Registration Singapore 

Setting Boundaries in Bivocational Ministry: Part 1

As young pastors in bivocational ministry, we’ve had to learn many things on the fly.

From working with volunteers and engaging with older staff to developing curriculum and teaching the Gospel to diverse audiences.

But perhaps the hardest element we’ve had to adjust to is boundary setting.

bible_hammer_web‘Cause truth is: with limited time and relational opportunities, providing pastoral care while faithfully holding down multiple day jobs can be challenging.

Knowing when to sacrifice, when to engage, when to say ‘yes‘, when to say ‘no‘ …

…I mean, let’s face it: it can be doggone hard discerning the right move at the right time, especially without a solid game plan.

Yet, we don’t have to feel helpless or lost in the dark.

‘Cause when we look at Scripture, we find that game plan in Christ and his ministry.

Now, for many, when we think of Jesus, we think about the cross, a parable he taught or one of his many miracles. But perhaps one of the most underrated aspects of his ministry was how he shepherded his own heart by setting boundaries and accepting the limitations of his humanity.

Could Jesus have done more on certain days?

Absolutely.

Yet, could he have also overstepped the boundary of authority given to him?

You bet.

After all, it’s not like Jesus forsook his divinity when he took on human flesh.

However…even though Jesus fully knew his identity as the Son of God, he never abused this by trying to bite off more than he could chew. Why? Because Jesus…

  1. Understood the importance of rest…
  2. Understood how rest encouraged a lifestyle of obedience…and…
  3. Understood how rest maintained a posture of yieldedness, anchoring his priorities and needs to the will of God.

Thus, Jesus never flirted with the temptation to overextend himself, since he knew the right time to speak the truth in love, knew the right time to withdraw or redirect authority, knew when to call out unholy behavior and knew when to engage the expectations he had for people.

Bottom line: Jesus knew if people were to step into his yoke, then he had to have one to begin with. And he knew in order to cultivate the yoke, he had to rely on God so his allegiance, hunger and drive could be refreshed.

However, just because Jesus was driven, didn’t mean he was hauling 60, 70+ hours a week…as hard as that is to believe.

Rather, Jesus could have cared less about how busy life got because he knew he could rely on what God provided…and knew he could know God’s heart if he daily postured himself.

You see, Jesus’ ministry didn’t end with rest, it started with rest* . Jesus didn’t spend quiet time with God when he had the time. He made it his priority before anything else happened. Thus, when the time came for action, for teaching, for healing, for loving the outcasts, Jesus had the capacity to fully execute because his pace was still rooted in obedience to God’s will.

And for 21st century ministers, caught up in a “work hard to reap the rest” mindset, it’s easy to forget what Jesus did behind the scenes. But it’s here where we must redirect our focus and realize it’s not about how many hours we put in during the week, but what we do with those hours that counts.

Stay tuned for next time, when we’ll talk about the difference between walls and boundaries…and how pastors can effectively establish these boundaries (whether personal, ethical or relational) while also making time for rest, family and quality time with God.

Footnotes

* Gaultiere, B. (n.d.). Ministry Begins with Rest – Soul Shepherding. Retrieved September 9, 2014.

 

 

 

Staying the Course – The Importance of Not Quitting: Part 1

I’m going to be quite frank: I’m not a fan of my day job.

I mean…don’t get me wrong. I take great pride in being bivocational, serving as a full-time volunteer youth pastor with a permanent governmental position on the side.

But on some days, I’m telling you…I seriously consider buying some “Just for Men” products just to combat premature greyness potential.

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After all, it’s hard to stay engaged at work when you sense your passion bucket is drying up…when the only thing keeping your midday heart afloat is a splintered desire for excellence.

‘Cause truth is: Sometimes, it’s easy to want to quit…to unplug and refresh, especially when you feel you’re heart and résumé are headed in opposite directions.

However, when we soak in the Word and rest in the arms of Christ, we can find value in steadfast persistence, even when our circumstances don’t make sense. Yes, we may be burning for a reset compass to the tune of 90°, maybe 180°, but this doesn’t have to compromise our faith in staying the course.

Think about the ministry of Christ…

Whenever Jesus encountered a difficult situation, what’s the first thing he did? He yielded. He relinquished his prerogative and instead, referenced the Father so he could be filled with wisdom and understanding.

In other words, Jesus lived what God said…because he saw his life as a pure reflection of the Father’s heart and continually established the hope of glory as his vanguard.

Thus, the more Jesus yielded, the more supernatural strength he received, which in turn, helped him not only stand firm in the midst of trials, but also live a lifestyle of perpetual obedience.

Essentially, when we discern the ministry of Jesus, we see how holy surrender is the best way to never give up.

But maybe you’re still scratching your head, wondering how this relates to the humble workingman stuck in cubicle country. I mean…it’s not like these factoids can ease the burden of two rush hour commutes a day or the patronizing, unprofessionally filtered dialogue ponging up the airwaves and hallways…

or can it?

You see, studying the nature and ministry of Christ not only inspires us to live a life worthy of the calling set before us (Ephesians 4:1), but also compels us to take up our cross (Matthew 16:24-26). Without it, there’s no way we can expect our natural perspective to calibrate to where it needs to be.

And yet, on the flipside, I understand the profile of the unfulfilled employee whose frustration mounts whenever a co-worker is promoted out of bias or when another is  intentionally disregarded.

However, whenever I feel suffocated or ignored by a colleague, I remember the attitude Christ had whenever he encountered animosity.

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And suddenly, my crap doesn’t feel so…crappy anymore.

True, I may be tempted to vent steam in the face of what feels like discriminate functionality. But glory to God if I’m hard-pressed. Glory to God if I feel abandoned…if I’m stuck in a jam and the only way out is reliance upon His unfailing masterheart.

Bottom line: You may find yourself in a bland situation, feeling like you’re filing your creativity away …or stuck between provisional responsibility and a dream pursuit.

But whether you feel pinned under overwhelming pressure or hardened by lifelessness, the point is: Don’t quit…but stay the course!

Remember each season of your life is a stepping stone in the direction of the unfathomable calling God has for you. So don’t believe the lie that God doesn’t care about the job you do…or that everything has to make sense in order to embrace the opportunity in front of you.

Instead, press in, press through and put yourself in a position to hear God’s heart and voice, so when you hear His call, you won’t hesitate to obey even if you don’t fully understand the answer. For God always sees the ultimate goal and nothing is impossible with him (Luke 1:37). After all, He not only sees the light at the end of the tunnel – He is the light.

Let’s pray…

God, we want to be difference makers at our jobs, even though it may seem most of the people we work with tick the living shrek out of us. God, we want to love what’s hard, not just what’s easy. We don’t want to give up and surrender the chance we have to be light in the darkness. We may not be a fan of what we do. We may not see how this pertains to our calling. But by faith, we’re going to believe there’s a purpose behind the position you’ve blessed us with. We don’t have to see it to believe it and we don’t have to like it to live it. At the end of the day, we’re going to be obedient. And we trust that you’ll create and develop in us a stronger desire to selflessly serve while standing tall in adversity. It’s not about us. It’s all about you. So take this numb heart and breathe life back into it so we may be able to give life back to others. Amen!”

4 Reasons Why It ‘s OK to Enjoy Having a Professional Job: Reason 1

rossieronline.usc.edu-

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In a world where the ability to have a full time focus is a luxury many seek, it can be difficult to reconcile the side of you that enjoys being in a secular work place. The good news is, you don’t need to reconcile…it is perfectly biblical, and here is why!

 

Reason 1

Paul had a day job. That’s right! Mr. I Wrote Almost One-Third of the New Testament was bi-vocational!

In Acts 18, we see working wasn’t just something he did before he launched his ministry. Paul was saved and began ministering in Acts 9. Barnabas and Saul were designated by the Holy Spirit for missionary work in Acts 13 and were planting churches in Acts 14. Paul’s ministry was in full swing.

Finally, in Acts 18, while he is planting the church in Corinth (the only church to get 2 letters), he is working as a Tent maker. Interestingly enough, all Jewish teachers of the law in the first century had a “trade”. Reading through Acts, Paul was proud that he lived by his work. You should be too. I can’t help but wonder why Paul, one of the most influential ministers in the history of the church chose to work?

Maybe he saw the market place as a mission field in and of itself, which brings us to our second reason…Whatever in Greek means…Whatever…