How to Start a Church Job

I’ve been reflecting over the past week on the idea of starting well. My wife recently started a new job at a church that we have come to love. In a short period of time, another couple of friends have left positions at our old church and begun the journey as new employees here as well. The days of lifelong employment at one organization have gone by the wayside.

So you landed that new role, a new position with a new church. What do you do now? How do you make the most of your first 90 days and begin moving in a positive direction?

The answer will seem overly simple. In fact, it is so simple that it is often overlooked – especially by those eager to prove themselves.

No matter the culture, leadership style or any other factor – the Church of Jesus is decidedly relational in nature. In your first 90 days in a new church, I’d suggest there is nothing you can accomplish that will be as valuable as building relational bridges between you and the staff – especially staff across various departmental lines.

We tend to under-appreciate the importance of relational bridges. You do not want to find yourself running towards a relational bridge only to remember that it remains unbuilt.

So go ask the student ministry people to grab lunch and find out why they love working with students. Go grab coffee with the video team members and ask what some of their greatest pressures are. Make time to meet with people who work in adult ministry areas and ask them to explain some of the complexity they face. Talk with a children’s staff member and learn out how their area works.

Want to know a little secret about human nature? People love to talk about themselves. You would be hard pressed to find a person who enjoys what they do but declines the opportunity to talk about it. (One obvious caveat…NEVER ask people about Cross-Fit. They will share with you whether you ask or not.) 😄

When you ask someone about themselves and share a little about yourself they feel like they know you. (I know you are probably thinking “duh”). Here is why it matters:

  • We are most comfortable reaching out to someone we know about needs we have
  • We lean into relationships we have when needing to partner with different departments
  • When we have the chance to champion and promote someone in the organization we first consider the people we know

Relational bridges might not be a felt need for you today. However, they WILL matter to you the moment you need help from someone in another department. The relational bridge will matter when you have a question and wonder who you can text for a quick response. It will matter in those moments where timeliness and collaborate are essential – because we tend to work best most effectively with those whom we already know and have a relationship.

So if you find yourself working in a new job, congrats! Now go make the most of your early days in the role and build the relational bridges that will allow you and your church to thrive.

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