Other Duties As Required

Elizabeth Settle » Church Leadership Wisdom

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Most employees have the infamous “Other Duties As Required” line item at the foot of their job description. Ministry jobs are no different. One look at your workweek calendar might reveal that those “other required duties” send you speeding toward chaos or, inversely, leave you stalled on the rails of ministry progress.

The urgent

Last minute meetings, an out-of-control inbox, and unforeseen problems are ministry staples. Managing your calendar and your time are key. Ask yourself, “Is it really urgent?” I get great satisfaction in completing a task, so the incoming email, the invasive text message, and the ringing phone feel urgent. But what if they are not?

  1. Schedule daily blocks of time to read and respond to email. If an email comes outside of that timeframe, ignore it.
  2. Let phone calls go to voicemail and respond when it works best (perhaps during your commute).
  3. Unplug when writing, thinking, and meeting. Put your whole self into these tasks. More focus often means better results. The other stuff can wait.

If I’m honest with myself, most “urgent” demands are not urgent at all: it just feels more fulfilling (in the short term) to tackle them than remain focused. Other demands are truly urgent and, often, unforeseen. But God is not surprised. With his help, these challenging moments can produce great momentum.

The ambiguous

If the urgent sends us racing, the ambiguous often brings us to a standstill. Why? Because ambiguity breeds questions:

  1. Will this decision I’m making change when leadership decides to reschedule or restructure?
  2. Will my declaration still stand in a few months when our congregation grows or we move facility?
  3. Is it even worth it if my role is just going to shift and someone else will come in and change things?

There are some things that we just do not know, but one thing is sure: nagging questions inhibit real progress. What you have is right now. Pray about it. Talk to your leadership. Get as clear a vision as possible. And go! In most cases it’s much better to make a decision and move forward, than to stand stuck awaiting someone else.

Though the urgent and the ambiguous are real, true success (no matter your role) means tracking your job God’s way. Affix yourself firmly on these two rails:

1. Your job is to build team with your words

You are on staff to build people. You are on staff to share what you are hearing and learning with a group of leaders. Leaders you’ve chosen at God’s prompting. Leaders who you trust and can put weight on. Do you feel alone? This is your own doing. No matter your role, your job is to build a team with your words. Paul says it like this in 2 Timothy 2:2:

 “And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”

It is your job to build this cascading leadership team.

  1. What you hear, you pass on to others, who pass it on to others. Like train cars connected on a track, we get information from car to car, person-to-person, with words passed along.
  2. These words are the links that build strong team: teaching, training, correcting, and encouraging.

2. Your job is to organize people to get things done

Are you too busy? This is your own doing. Review that weekly calendar again and figure out what you are working on: expense reimbursements, scheduling, counseling, training, inventorying, event coordinating, and facility set-up? Your job is to organize people to get these things done. Again, Paul:

“(You are) to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.” Ephesians 4:12

Your job is to organize people (equip the saints):

  1. Organizing people includes preparing systems and resources for people to move forward in.
  2. Organizing people includes dividing your responsibilities into “chunks” that get delegated to people who lead teams to build the church (building up the body of Christ).

Your job is to organize people (equip the saints) to get things done (for the work of the ministry). Things like: expense reimbursements, scheduling, counseling, training, inventorying, event coordinating, and facility set-up.

Oh. And…

“Other Duties As Required.”

What do you most enjoy about building a team?

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