My faith @ work

faith at work titleHow does your faith play out at work?  That is the question we are exploring in the new sermon series (started last week at west campus, this week at east campus).

One of my reflections has been about how MY work is similar to and how it is different fromthe work that most of the people in our church do.  I started to make a list of where I thought my role was different and where I thought it was the same…and then I realized it wasn’t so easy to categorize, so this is just became some reflections on my work.  I’ll let you decide whether they are the same as yours or different.

1.  My work environment has very few temptations/struggles with sin.  Working at a church doesn’t make the environment perfect, but all of us do share a common set of values. 

2.  The greater purpose of my work is easily seen…probably easier than most.  I do think there is great purpose in many, many lines of work.  Still, I do what I do because I feel like it is the most important job on planet earth.

3.  The DRIVE inside me is complex.  I genuinely want to be used by God to change lives.  Honestly, I also want to be successful (I think I know some good measurements for this, but it is still a constant question for me).  I want to be a great teacher.  I want to be a man of faith and vision willing to trust God to do things others are hesitant to do (this comes out of a conviction that if we only do what we’ve always done we will only reach who we’ve always reached).  But I don’t want to chase fads — and those are at least as common in ministry as in most work environments.  I do get the satisfaction of literally seeing lives changed before my eyes…Not hard to get up in the morning for that.

4.  I make many decisions every day, but only 2% of my choices are between Right/Wrong or Good/Bad.  Most are judgement calls between good/great or better/best.  Growth brings greater opportunities for influence and more demands for my time, leaving the dream of personally serving each person dead.  The only thing I hate about my job is saying “no” to things that are incredibly valuable.  It’s the worst feeling in the world to choose against going to do a hospital visit or telling someone I can’t personally give them counsel (or even telling a staff member we can’t fund something they believe will make a difference). Choosing against something bad is easy.  Choosing against something good (even when you believe it will bring about something better) is killer.

5.  Bill Hybels says that the primary challenge in leading a church is that you do it with “one hand tied behind your back”.  He is referencing the idea that for many business/non-profit leaders leading the organization is their job.  But for pastors, in addition to leading the ministry, you give your very best thinking, reflection and time to preparing a 30 minute sermon that is Biblically accurate and relevant to people’s lives every week.  One of my pastor-friends calls it “the term paper that is due every Sunday”. 

6. Like many pastors, I have a love/hate relationship with the teaching responsibility.  It is 90% love becuase of the catalyst Biblical teaching can be for changed lives.  The “hate” side rears it’s head when I get tired or feel pressed for time (which totally works against creativity).  There is nothing better than a sermon you are satisfied with…and nothing worse than one that you feel went flat…it will be 7 days before you feel like you can redeem yourself!

7.  Good LEADERSHIP makes all the difference.  Lots of churches are good at preaching and praying…and think that is enough.  But I think a reading of the scriptures would show with preaching and prayer at the foundation, it is leadership that makes the difference in fulfilling any mission.  So, while the most visible thing I do is teach on Sundays, the most important role I have is to discern God’s direction for Suncrest (along with our leaders) and build teams and other leaders to help us get from where we are to where God wants us to be.

8.  Practically, that is not nearly as “lofty” as it sounds.  I have a lot of meetings during the day with staff and during the evenings with volunteer teams.  It’s reviewing budgets and leadership development and planning – long-term and short term.  It is recruiting people, guiding people, motivating people, resourcing people and (don’t we all love this?) holding people accountable.  It is knowing when to centralize something for focus and strength and when to de-centralize it for ownership and innovation.  It is making sure we aren’t inward focused paralyzing growth, while making sure we have built the right foundations to support the growth God is bringing us.  It is knowing when to push volunteers because you believe in them and when to pull back because you are about to burn them out.  It is genuinely listening to people’s preferences and needs while not settling for anything less than the vision God has laid on our heart. 

OK…it feels like this post morphed as I kept typing and typing…I’ll just leave it there for now.

~ by Greg Lee on July 8, 2009.

3 Responses to “My faith @ work”

  1. Greg, I was going to stop and tell you just how much your message moved me, but you are usually very popular after your sermons. I have been asking God questions, and he sent me his answer through you. Thank you.

    • That’s very kind, Lynn. Thank you. I know there is a line sometimes, but I look forward to saying hi sometime when you have a chance to wait it out. 🙂

  2. Most often than not I feel the same way. I want to chat on Sundays but I pull back because I don’t want to burn out my new pastor. Actually, before this I never had a pastor. Back to the point. I’m still spinning my wheels when I see you in action. Spinning my wheels in a good way. I’m sure of this; you are at the top of your craft. Demeanor, voice inflection, mannerisms…no one can touch it. I ask myself, how does he do this? Not to over simplify, faith at work.

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