what i think about when i’m not sleeping…

Yea! My first, I’m-not-sleeping-after-laying-in-bed-for-over-an-hour-thinking blog post.It took a bit, but I ended up at ministry and a great analogy for it. This is dedicated to a guy in the Church Marketing Lab (SeanP) who is frequently complaining about life in ministry. I found myself dwelling on the correlations between the YouTube video below, and ministry in a church.

So many people think that a job at a church is going to be all rainbows and unicorns. That it will be soft and loving and no one ever gets hurt. They think it’s going to be just like Candy Mountain. In reality, it is Candy Mountain! And if you go in the cave, they beat you up and steal your kidney!

I’m not cynical. I’ve worked at a church for almost four years. I still enjoy it. I’ve just seen others go through the process of walking up to the mountain in wide-eyed wonder, oblivious to the humanity inside. Their expectations lead them into the cave. When reality starts to happen (selfishness, politics, nepotism, sin, new leadership, firing/resignations) they’re emotionally devastated. These are their pastors, their spiritual leaders, who are now being revealed as *gasp* humans! I had the opportunity to work with spouses of others who worked at a church (my church) and experienced, through them, the reality of church work. I then married someone who worked at my church, and my experience became much more personal.Eventually, I came on staff, and began to experience none of it! It happened all around me, but never to me. Maybe it did, and I just didn’t notice it. Maybe it was all in my attitude and my preparation. Maybe it was seeing the bigger picture. I mean, my boss is no unicorn. He doesn’t guard all my hopes and dreams. He can be a jerk. He can run the ministry like he would a small business (his words).

All I can say is, church work is like the finding Candy Mountain. It looks so shiny and beautiful on the outside, but those humans on the inside can really kick your butt, leaving you battered and bruised. Sometimes they’ll even take a kidney, and it’s hard to give church another thought.

Be prepared to work with people. Be prepared for another corporate environment, sometimes even less corporate and more like crappy small business. Church has it’s fair share of mean bosses, selfish co-workers and rude members.It’s not all bad though. If you find a good one, and pay enough attention to stay out of the cave, you could find wonderful friendships, inspiring mentors, and true concern for one another. You could find yourself praying with co-workers, crying and confessing with them. You could find yourself eating lunch in the break room everyday (or waiting to eat until others show up). You could find a real community.

It all depends on what you expect, and what you’re ready for.


~ by mitchbolton on March 25, 2008.

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