full time ministry

Working in a Church that you would NOT Attend

A question that i hear often is whether or not it is wrong to work in a church that you would not attend if you were not on staff.  Many people believe this is a black and white issue, but my opinion is that it depends. I have the privilege of working in a church that I do and would attend whether I worked there or not.  This was not always the case though.

I have worked full time at 4 churches and we probably would have only attended 2 of those.  That does not mean that we did not love or fully invest in the 2 others.  We believed in their mission and were honored to serve those congregations.  I believe that God used our time in all of these churches both in the life of the congregation that we served through our ministry and through the congregation into our lives.

It is also my opinion that you should not work in a church that you would not attend for a long season (more than 2-3 years).  It will wear on you and even more on your family.  Here are my suggestions if you are working in or considering working in a church that you would not attend:

1) Work hard and stay focused on the ministry God has called you to in this season.

2) Have open dialogue with your family and make sure that they do not suffer in this season (it is much easier to do this when you are single than once you are married or have kids)

3) Find a place that you can worship (maybe a Saturday service or may I suggest online) and be fed spiritually

4) Take notes of what you like and dislike about your current congregation (remember  that there is no perfect church)

5) Begin thinking through what your ideal ministry role, church type (plant, established, traditional, progressive, etc.), and location would be.

I am so grateful for all of the ministry opportunities that I have been blessed to have.  They have each prepared me for the next season of ministry and shaped who I am today.  I have experienced many highlights as well as struggles at every church that I have served and so grateful as to where God has called me to and the journey he has taken me on in bringing me to where He has me today.

Do you agree or disagree with this perspective?  Are there any additional suggestions you would share with someone who works or is considering working in a church that they would not attend?