The Twenty – #1: The Most Difficult Thing about Working at a Church

Gary Molander is someone I have great respect for and someone I think you should know. And when Gary posted a list of 20 things he wanted people to write about I got some inspiration. So, welcome to The Twenty series. One post a week. One topic from the list each week. Some of them I already have countless ideas for. Others, not so much. So, it ought to be a good challenge. :)

#1: The Most Difficult Thing About Working at a Church

Looking back I honestly think that the most difficult thing about working at a church for me was what came after I left.

I have struggled since leaving my position at a church to feel like I am living my purpose. And I’ve just recently begun to understand why. I feel called to serve the Church. And for the last 7 years of my life serving the Church has been my job. Though I was only on staff for 2 years at a church prior to that I served in roles that were volunteer staff for lack of a better description. So for 7 years what I have labeled ministry has been very regular, very scheduled, very constant in my life.

Fast forward to now, and I am not doing anything close to that. I am involved in my local church and volunteer a bit outside of that as well, but not nearly on the scale that I have for so long. Yet, I still long to live for something greater than myself…to feel like I am living my God-given purpose.

I’ve come to the realization that I have defined ministry as a job rather than a lifestyle.  I came to equate serving the Church with vocational ministry and ministry with being on church at a staff. I put serving the Church in the box of church staff and ministry in the box of church staff. In my mind the way to serve the Church was to be on church staff and ministry was being on church staff. And the reality is I think many who work in churches today end up doing that same thing without even knowing it.

But ministry is so much bigger than being on staff at a church and serving the Church is so much bigger than vocational ministry. Ministry is life. Life is ministry. At the end of the day ministry is people, it is serving the Church, it is compassion and caring and supporting and encouraging and admonishing and discipling and mentoring and loving. It is life. And it happens in schools and department stores. On blogs and on airplanes. In medical offices and art studios. It happens wherever it is that God places you. And so does serving the Church.

As I retrain my brain and learn redefine the term “ministry” I see that I really am living my purpose. If I am loving Him and loving others. If I am living out my faith, using the gifts He’s given me, then I am living my purpose. I am serving the Church. I am doing ministry.

How do you define “ministry” and “serving the Church?”

With courage, Katie