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.