When you work at the place you worship, there's a unique dynamic at play. You might be the worship leader, technical director, or administrative assistant.
Regardless of your job title, you're working in ministry. Your vocation involves leading people to Christ and helping believers grow in their relationship with Him. Therefore, it's not possible to work too muchright?
Just ask retired Pastor Joe McKeever about this issue.
In a post on Facts & Trends, he reveals his greatest regret in ministry failing to take care of his own family. No one wants to reach retirement or the end of his or her life with that regret. I respect his willingness to share such a personal revelation to help others avoid the same mistake.
If you're not sure whether you're at risk for feeling that regret, here are five potential indicators:
#1 Your spouse and/or children have said so
If your spouse has asked you to stop working so much and spend more time at home, that's a big sign.
If your children want you to play with them, but see you're on your phone (again) and get frustratedthat's an indicator.
Your family is your first ministry priority. If they resent the church because it takes you away from them, that doesn't bode well for their relationship with you or with the church.
#2 You can't resist checking work email while on vacation
If you do take a vacation, you're still not fully engaged with your family if you're checking work email.
Before you head out, delegate your key tasks to someone else to manage while you're gone. Set up an "out of office" email responder, remove your email app from your phone, turn your phone offwhatever you have to do to make sure you fully focus on your family during vacation.
#3 - You have a hard time saying "no" to additional work requests
Most churches are understaffed. There will always be more work to accomplish than hours in the week. However, that doesn't mean you have to say "yes" to every request.
This can lead to some difficult conversations with your direct supervisor. If he/she is constantly asking you to take on more work, you may need to request a meeting to discuss the issue.
Before that conversation, document how much time it takes you to complete each of your job responsibilities. Develop options for making tasks more efficient.
Those could include a new app or tool to automate aspects of the process, tasks you think no longer need attention and why, ideas of who to delegate certain tasks to (staff or volunteers), or the potential cost of hiring a virtual assistant or other part-time worker. Also consider assigning priorities to your tasks. Then ask your manager if he/she agrees with those priorities.
Go into this meeting giving your leader the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes leaders keep adding to their staff member's workload without realizing how much work they've given you. It's up to you to initiate the conversation and ask for guidance on how to proceed.
#4 - You aren't actively looking for volunteers to share in ministry
This could be a sign that you're holding ministry tasks to closely. Yes, it's hard sometimes to trust someone else with important tasks.
However, if you don't invite and equip volunteers to participate in ministry you're robbing yourself and them of a great opportunity.
You're hurting yourself by trying to do way more than you can realistically handle.
You're robbing volunteers from an opportunity to serve others, cultivate new friendships, and develop new skills.
Seek out volunteers to do the work of ministry. Don't limit this to Sunday services. Look for individuals who have different work schedules, retirees who'd love to contribute their skills during the week, etc. Ask God to help you meet these people and connect them with great ministry opportunities.
Your spiritual, emotional, and physical health suffers when you're constantly working. Your family needs you to be not only physically, but emotionally present.
Don't look back at your life decades from now and regret neglecting your family or your own spiritual walk.
Working at a church is a demanding job. However, it is possible to work diligently and have a successful ministry without significant regrets.