Things I’ve Learned From Working For MY Church…

Things I’ve Learned From Working For MY Church…

If you went back in time 10 years ago and told me I’d be working for a Church today, let alone a Church I love, I would have laughed in your face. I thought God was an entity that punished you for not following His rules. I wanted to do what I wanted to do, and that revolved around making a lot of money and climbing the corporate ladder. Excessive Pride & Money…the very things that lead to a less fulfilling life.

Today I wish I had embarked on that path a long time ago.

God is like that though.

First, He wants you to want to go on the path. He will never force you, and He will never love you less for not doing it sooner. Like any good parent.

Second, depending on how far you went down the wrong road, you have to make the trek back onto His path. There’s no Chutes and Ladders shortcut. I’ve found it usually takes a lot longer than I wish it would be, but every single time it was all perfectly timed. You find out there was work you had to do on yourself and He had to do on you all along that path.

I could write a whole book on how He got me here…but that’s for another time.

So after 4 months of working for Saddleback Church as a Project Manager for the Creative Services team, I felt it was a good time to talk about what I’ve learned.

Let’s get the negative out-of-the-way real quick…

The enemy CONSTANTLY attacks every member of our Church team. Physically, mentally and emotionally. He knows we’re doing great work and he hates every bit of it. This has been a very emotionally draining job because the enemy tries to frequently convince me that because of my past mistakes, I don’t deserve to work at Saddleback Church. I wasn’t sure what people meant by this during the interview process, but I get it now. Working for the Church is NOT for the faint of heart/soul. The enemy will never win though, not with God on my/our side.

With that done, let’s look at the positives of it all and why I wish I had gotten here a lot sooner.

  1. The corporate ladder is GONE…
    Your focus is on using your God-given talents to do great work. Gone for me are the days of trying to do something to stand out from the crowd to be recognized so I can go another rung up. Everything I do is to either help spread God’s love, or help my team out. I still get recognition which is nice, but it’s for personal satisfaction not advancement.
  2. Grace is practiced daily…
    It’s practiced by every single person, myself included. We all make lives challenging for our co-workers, but in most corporate environments your trespasses and those of others are noted on some mental note-board. Those trespasses are used later either to climb another rung, or to manipulate you later. In my Church the initial frustration is expressed, but then you work together to work better together as you move forward. It took me awhile to get used to mistakes not being career landmines, but once I did my stress level was significantly reduced.
  3. Humility is seen as a strength, not a weakness…
    Make a mistake in corporate America and admit to it? You’re typically seen as weak. Make a mistake in your work for the Church? Our Pastor Rick Warren wants us to! He has publicly stated that he encourages us to make one mistake a week.  The only caveat is that we have to learn from them and not make them again. I’ve owned up to every mistake I’ve made and each time my co-workers/managers have looked at me as a stronger person, they show me grace & forgiveness, then we move on.
  4. It’s about RELATIONSHIPS…
    There’s always work to be done, and you do need to make sure you get done what needs to get done. They don’t want your head down and focused on work the whole time though. At Saddleback, talking to your co-workers in and out of your department is strongly encouraged. I don’t have just the typical water cooler chit-chat. I’ve had some amazingly deep conversations with others. Souls have been bared and love is extended each and every time. I’ve prayed with them, they’ve prayed over me. My team (some of them in the pic) have become my second family. God help the person who tries to mess with/hurt them.
  5. It’s about faith in Him to get things done…
    On average every week we get about 35-40 requests for some creative services piece. This is on top of cranking out a bulletin that gets customized for all 12 of our California campuses. There are Mondays I look at our production board and wonder how we’re going to get it all done. That’s when our team turns to God and says “Your Will Be Done”. For a couple of hectic weeks I added God as a member of every project and a label that said “God’s Will Be Done”. Every single thing  that needed to get done for Him, got done. The only way it happened was because of Him.
  6. It’s about who God is molding you to become…
    We recognize that God has us where we are for a reason because He is using us in some way shape or form at that time to serve Him. We have talents that make us as individuals and a team better. Our leadership believes this strongly and provides us the guidance we need (through His direction) to help God mold us into what He wants us to become.
  7. Prayer and talking about God is an everyday part of work life…
    You’re probably going #duh of course you do that in a Church. After 20 years in corporate America, it’s different for me and provides daily refreshment. In today’s society talking about God or praying together in the corporate environment is often seen as weird, or oddly enough even a weakness. It’s nice to openly talk about Him and the good work He is doing. Now we don’t all go around constantly blessing each other, quoting scripture, singing worship songs through the halls (although the Worship team appropriately does sing in the cubicles on the other side of us), and praying at set times throughout the day. All of it is done when the spirit moves us or when we need to draw on His strength.
  8. A paycheck is an honor, not an expectation…
    A paycheck used to be something I would expect to get as a representation of the hard work I put in. Like many others there were times where I felt like it wasn’t enough. Today it’s become a blessing and the icing on the cake. I love my work so much, it’s a bonus to get paid to do what I do.
  9. No matter what it is you are doing as part of your work, it ALL has meaning…
    My work used to revolve around the goal of helping either the company  I worked for or others to make more money. Today my work is used to reach out to others who are trying to get through today’s world on their own strength, instead of leaning on God. It’s used to encourage those that do believe in Him, to keep leaning on and learning from Him. IT IS THE MOST FULFILLING WORK I HAVE EVERY DONE. When things get challenging at work, it’s awesome to think about God being proud of my work. It’s feels great to think of the others who will be with me in Heaven because I helped get a flyer printed, or a sign put out for an event. Because of the work that my team, my Church and I do every day, lives are literally saved.
  10. I am loved for who I am, by EVERYONE…
    I have had the fortune to work with many great people, and on many great teams. I have been cared for, loved on and supported by so many in my career. There were many times though where I felt like others thought I was odd, or just didn’t get me. I so often felt like a obtuse peg trying to be fit into a round hole. It made for really uncomfortable work environments. I finally feel like I found my obtuse hole. While I’m sure my quirks, personality and humor may not always be loved, I as a person truly feel loved and wanted by all.

Yeah, that’s a lot from just 4 months. It’s pretty exciting to think about what could come from the next 4 months.

To my team I say thank you. Thank you for your love, support, encouragement and friendship. I love you all more than you’ll ever know. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for us. #TEAMMARCOMCSFORLIFE