Pegs and Holes

We were talking this morning about this strange concept of ‘working for a church’ and then even stranger doing it ‘two days a week’.

The longer I am involved in leading a Christian community the less I see it as:

a) work

b) able to classified into designated days & hours.

To be sure, there are days when I have to do some things that aren’t really my forte or passion and in my view that is when it becomes ‘work’, but for the most part it is a calling and a role that flows with my life and that fits who I am. It would be more accurate to say who ‘we’ are, because Danelle and I are together ’employed two days a week’.

It is the ‘two days a week’ bit that feels more and more absurd, because it just doesn’t work like that – and if it did then I think we would have got it wrong anyway. Its like being a business owner and only doing that 3 days/week. It just isn’t reality.

Every day of the week I carry responsibility for my business and every day of the week we carry responsibility for the life and health of our church community. The extent to which we can physically do tasks related to each is limited, but I believe the key here is the ownership of responsibility and the weight that goes with that. Some days it means I have a little to do. Other days it means I have a lot. It doesn’t translate nicely to a two day working week and then of course there is the question of Sundays…

Some say Sundays are not counted because everyone else does Sundays while others ‘count’ Sundays because they have to be there and don’t get the option of a sleep in or a week off because they are tired.

I sense that when we are counting and running the numbers we are missing the point. When we are asking ‘what do we need to do to lead these people well?’ then we are on the right track.

I guess the ‘two day a week’ framing will always stay as long as we need to determine a way to reimburse people for their time spent and their subsequent inability to earn money in other ways. But to imagine that the role of leading a Christian community can be neatly packaged into two days is to try and put a square peg in a round hole.

Perhaps a better framing is for a church to say ‘we are allocating $x to support you and your family as you fulfill the role of leading us’. Thankfully this isn’t an issue where we are, but it is one of the reframings that has taken place in my own mind over the last few years and that helps me function in a more healthy way.

2 thoughts on “Pegs and Holes

  1. Much like a missionary is payed a stipend of sorts to work with their community whatever that looks like, whether supported by ‘tent making’ income or otherwise. Maybe…

    Sound familiar?

  2. I like your philosophy. Some of the struggles I have working that out – and maybe some reason for the “clock watching” – have to do with personality, coupled with a desire to make sure that we don’t short-change our families. By personality, I mean that there are some of us who, if it weren’t for those boundaries, would either work 8 days a week, and some who would do as much as needed just to get by. While it could be argued that the latter need to re-assess why they’re in ministry, I think the picture for both is that having those boundaries is one way of making sure that we don’t short-change anybody.

    That being said, I think your overall picture of what it means to minister to people is correct, and I like the way you articulated it at the end: “We are allocating $x to support you and your family as you fulfill the role of leading us.”

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